Gratitude and Glossa

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. I do not have to cook tomorrow, as my 79 year old mother still insists on that, but I will be surrounded by (almost) my whole family: parents, husband, son, brother and three nieces. (One brother’s family will be celebrating in Wisconsin, but we will see them for Christmas.) I am always grateful for the time I have with friends and family – we aren’t fancy people, but we laugh a lot and hold one another’s hearts in high esteem.

I have been particularly blessed this year with my writing. I am incredibly grateful to Erin Elizabeth Smith and Sundress Publications for taking a chance on my book A House of Many Windows. It has been an amazing experience so far, and the conversations it has sparked with people of all ages, genders, and walks of life have been humbling. I am thankful for all of the editors who took chances and published my work, those who nominated me for awards, those who sent encouraging words along with their rejections. And I am grateful for all of my writing friends – those who are physically in my life and those who live in the online ether – for encouragement, support, praise, critique, and general camaraderie.

So, in honor of that writing community, I wrote a draft in a form I had never seen before today. In perusing The Daily Poet by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano (which I reviewed earlier this month), I came upon an entry which challenged me to write a glossa, a form based on four lines from another writer. The example provided used song lyrics, so I did the same.

Glossa for Ben Gibbard

Sorrow drips into your heart

through a pinhole

Just like a faucet that leaks

but there is comfort in the sound

 

The first cracks are microscopic, hairline

fractures that lend a wise patina, nothing

to be concerned about at all. Sometimes

you forget that they are even there, those

old wounds from first crushes, false loves

and bad decisions, but each one is a part

of the process. After all, something split

cannot ever be mended in the same way

and, once the slow seeping starts,

sorrow drips into your heart.

*

Your eyes as a child were open so wide

with wonder they could see across oceans,

through brick walls, could imagine vast

horizons dotted with mythical beasts as

easily as the neighbor’s overgrown yard

filled with mewling cats. Once your whole

universe bloomed infinite, but it narrowed

with time and now all the colors are fading.

Your sightlines have become funneled, doled

out in thin rations through a pinhole.

*

Your vision slim, your poor heart cracked

and worn, you wake up one day, winter sun

blazing aimless in a crash of blue sky, and

vow reclamation, get out the super glue

and a plumbing snake, patch things up

and root them open, spend days and weeks

on end battling the breaking. And you win –

sort of – most days – but once in a while,

late at night, a memory floats in and sneaks

in its disrepair, just like a faucet that leaks.

*

And the dripping some nights keeps you awake,

at the brink of sleep but not quite, and the world

wiggles its way in to make new fractures. Your

vision tunnels down to duty and requirement

like everyone else. You begin to fear the unseen,

stuck in this husk of human form and bound

to the sinking mast of age. What made you think

you could be different? The slow fall of water

on porcelain reminds you how you’ve drowned,

but (at least) there is comfort in the sound.

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