What do you do?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a poem for my Aunt Patti, who was fighting back at stage four metastasized cancer with kale and the sheer force of her indomitable will. Yesterday, at 4:05 pm, cancer won and we all lost. That poem a few weeks ago, I wrote for her and this poem I wrote today is for all of us who are left behind. 

There are no words
There are no words
What do you do
when her pain is over?
Are you relieved?
Are you devastated?

Probably
you are both
like me

Torn between love and despair
Between missing the sound of her voice
and knowing that now
for the first time
she can probably hear yours

Torn between
missing her
and loving her
between selfishness and selflessness

What do you do
when the earthquake hits?
What do you do when
the tectonic plate evaporates?

What do you do when she is gone?

What do you do?

I don’t know
yet
It’s only been a day
I do know some things
I am supposed to
breathe and eat and drink water
I am supposed to
cry and yell and pray
I am supposed to
talk and hug and tell stories
and
I am supposed to love
I am certainly supposed to love
even if I don’t know how
even if I have forgotten what that word means
I am supposed to love and hug and cry and yell and pray and tell stories and drink water and talk and breathe

I should breathe
just breathe
just keep breathing.

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One thought on “What do you do?

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