Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Discarding the Trappings

When the time comes, it should be easy:
Dump your clothes at Goodwill,
throw out the old mattress, recycle the chair,
take home a few letters, a knickknack or two;
you didn’t have much.
 
But what happens to my memories?
They’re not so easily dispatched:
Your shining eyes as a gleeful two-year-old;
at three, your delight, so cocky, parading your new hat;
at four, your beaming face when your huge Popeye
punching bag was tucked in bed with you. I remember these.
 
But the next years were an unhappy blur of you
talking too fast, interrupting everyone with nonsense,
becoming the butt of jokes at school, anger at home
for your careless accidents, mindless arguments,
humor that never worked.
You got abused by nearly everyone, even me, before
being shunted down a long trail of “help” that couldn’t–
there were no meds then to calm your fevered mind.
 
I was glad to escape to college, where you had no ability to go.
I should not have forgotten you there, but I couldn’t
keep up with your incoherence.
You were so far away.
When I came back, you put me on a pedestal so high
it was hard to reach you;
listening to your voices, angry rock bands, aggressive, sad.
 
Now you have meds to help you think straight, for which
I’m grateful, and shelter, meals, a few people to socialize with–
so I’m relieved, but there’s so little else.
 
How did the lively bright-eyed boy morph
into a furrow-faced slouch
whose only passion is model cars, as if you were still 14?
I value the days you try to talk of other things,
politics, the weather, but your world is so small now,
the gulf between us so very wide.
 
Tell me, how will I mourn you when you’re gone,
for the dreams that died before they began,
the life that was hardly lived?
 
 
DeirdreDeirdre Hennings resumed writing poetry and short stories after writing grant proposals on staff at Occidental College for several years. Previously she had written fundraising letters, marketing materials and grant proposals for clients including the City of Inglewood and the Los Angeles Conservancy.
 
 

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Categories: Mental Health, Poetry, Themed

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Dear Deirdre.

    I loved this piece, even though it made me tear up inside. I could visualize the scenes from your words. The ending was the more poi tent. Continue with your journey Blessings Love Linda

  2. Beautiful and touching poem, as always!

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