Tag Archives: tragedy

Perspective

A man swings alone
in the park beside the library.
I wonder why he’s there.
The parking lot is empty.

The library doesn’t open for another hour.

I put Malcolm Gladwell in the drop box.
He’s been helping me understand the misunderstood.
He’s given me 6 hours of perspective
on how we see things incorrectly.
How we misconstrue the facts.

I want to ask the man
why he is swinging in the park alone.
I wonder if there’s a woman
he wishes he hadn’t lost.
I want to ask him what he did wrong.
Why she left.
I want to find out what his plans are
to get her back.

From my air-conditioned car
I watch him lower his hands and his head
as if he wouldn’t care if his body flopped over
onto the ground like a rag doll.

I diagnose him with a broken heart.

The man’s posture stiffens
and he drags his feet to force a stop.
He stands, turns, and suddenly becomes a teenager
who walks into the arms of a beautiful girl
who just walked into the scene
from god knows where.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-15-18

 

Worst Case Scenario

It’s unlike you to sleep so late
to be silent past 7 a.m.
to forget to wish me a good day
and remind me you love me
with those exact words
and a plump red heart emoji
before you haul your body
even farther away from me
to go to work
so my instinct
is to imagine the worst—
to imagine you unresponsive
in your bed
or face down in the garden
after you tripped over the fence
or maybe
you are bleeding heavily
after the chainsaw
came down through your thigh
instead of the dead ash tree
you’ve been meaning to clear away
or maybe
you choked in the raspberry patch
trying to beat the raccoons
to your harvest
or maybe
you are tired of me after all this time
and need a break from my love
which might have smothered you.

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-17-17

 

Exit Wound

It is final—her death.
Her short life is over.
An accumulation
of her 40 years
was enough to produce
a kind of life which—
when ended—
shot bullets of grief
through her family
and friends,
and even those of us
who know her now
only by the stories
she left behind.
If only the last one
could be erased—
the story of her ending—
the story of the bullet
that isn’t a metaphor
for pain or death
or the kind of speed
with which sorrow
can pierce the day
with its cold metallic
indifference, and leave
the living on the ground
bleeding from
the exit wound.

DeMaris Gaunt
6-30-15

Recovery

Nearly as bad
as the death of your child
is the promise
by other survivors
(other crushable mothers)
that there is a form
of recovery in your future.

It will always be
a tender wound, they tell you,
but it will scab over
and allow you short reprieves
where the pain is bearable
and even smiles can return
to the landscape
above your shoulders.

To entertain a future
without muddy shoes
running into the house
and all those messes
I hated to clean up
feels like a Gift of the Magi
gone terribly wrong.

A single joy
seems unimaginable
and undeserved,
but his abbreviated life was
was so large with love—
it’s pushing me against my will
to believe he wouldn’t want
my life to end with his.

DeMaris Gaunt
12-22-14

Fireworks

The tight fisted sun
pounds the party
on the beach
this fourth of July.

Teenagers,
brown bodied
and glowing with laughter
throw Frisbees
and bodysurf
along the shore.

Colorful umbrellas
dissolve the heat
with their small round
shadows
while bellies fill
with the offerings
taken from the fire:
roasted corn
hot dogs,
s’mores.

Slowly, the ocean
drinks from the sky its light
and the smaller fire
ignites a fuse
held by careless hands
a little drunk with
independence
and all of a sudden
all the water in the world
is twenty feet
too far away.

DeMaris Gaunt
7-15-12