May I Be Familiar


May I Be Familiar

Do we find you in what you’ve left or where you’ve gone.

In words you could not form, or forgot long ago.

Missing the pastels, the shades, all nuance.

With moistened hands, I pat rice into a ball and wrap it in seaweed.

By my reckoning, the word who no longer implicates.

Ritual accumulates significance in memory.

Forgotten fruit on the sill. A whisper nailed to the wall.

Honor and pride line your earthen home.

Though you never did, I pickle ginger. Make takuan.

The transparent house reflects no gaze and contains no one.

Gathering your absence, I coil it around my body.

* * *

“May I Be Familiar” is included in my mini-digital chapbook, Interval’s Night, published by Platypus Press as part of their 2412 series.


32 thoughts on “May I Be Familiar

  1. “Gathering your absence, I coil it around my body.” Yes and yes! This rings so deeply true of my own experiences with the loss of a loved one. Loss is a universal fact that transcends our questions, and exists beyond/despite “reckoning” — and yet, what help is there, anyway, for: “Why are you closer than ever to me now that you’re gone?” or “Why can I gather you about me to mingle with my own, devastated nakedness now, so that you can heal me in a way I could not heal you?” We still ask, all the same…

    Though loss is ungraspably infinite and unavoidable, it seems that we have somehow developed the capacity to measure out grief molecule by molecule, to make it our own, and according to our own, “familiar” terms. I especially love how this poem poses (unanswerable) questions while categorically stripping them of their viability by denying them the standard, demarcating punctuation, and demoting the quintessential question word, “*who*,” to a commonness (another form of familiarity?) devoid of “implication.”

    This piece is a hallmark of your intuitive brilliance, Sir Robert! It’s perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I posted a link to this poem on my Facebook feed because I found it to be so profound. However, it means something a little different to me. I help my client authors get a legacy written in the form of a book. I believe creating a book to share your wisdom, your heart and your soul is a very generous act to the world. I am honored to be a part of the process for my clients.

    Liked by 1 person

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