Jean Renwick

Rookie (Australia)

Suspended - Poem by Jean Renwick

I heard her say, in a dark, quiet moment
after three too many of those dark, thick drinks smooth as velvet –

“My nana died less than a month before I turned fifteen.
I had lived with her for ten years. When you’re fifteen, ten years seems
a very long time. You think you have, I don’t know, some kind of
ownership.
I thought I had special rights.
But suddenly there were many people with connection,
memories,
grief.
And I couldn’t just fall apart because it wasn’t only about me: others had their own pain.
And I couldn’t give in to it, because others were coping, getting on with life.
So I wrapped myself up and battled on. But the corners of such a package fray
and the creases tear
and every now and then, the mess inside seeps through.
And it seems that with the years, the layers of wrapping become thinner,
or are stripped away, and it’s harder to keep it all together.

They say that these sorts of occasions (– deaths) are times
when we assess life and make decisions that determine our path or attitudes
for the next stage, if not for the rest of our lives – I, in principle, agree.
But by some slipstream I missed the opportunity
to make any decisions then; and ended up in
limbo,
suspended in a nowhere world
where the significance and importance of each new decision escalates exponentially;
while the ability to actually deal with and make the decision is
lost,
abandoned.
And by the rules of any good nightmare, indecision is a choice
by default. Before you know it, circumstance determines your direction and it’s
not the way you might have wanted to go.”

There it laid: the core of her Being, exposed
in careful, complicated words, as it would likely
never be again.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 12, 2010



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