You Are Not. Are You Not? - Poem by Tony Jolley
Can’t control my basic being –
It’s all gotten away from me
As I went away from she
And both went away from we.
Seems I keep forgetting to breathe
Till something stirs and stretches
And yawns me away
From History’s ever-open jaw
And never-sated stomach.
Sometimes I sense it first
As a lump in my throat:
A living lump
With its legs wrapped around my memory
And arms up to the elbows in my emotions,
Not an Everest (too high / too sharp) ,
More a rounded how, a high, hemispherical hill
That extracts its heavy toll
For every hard-swallowed, upward step.
At others it seems my ‘Fill’ is full,
Full of great guttering gobs,
Strong silent sobs
Born in my gut
Contr-actions of my spirit:
Actions-contra our two-from-six bereavement.
A crushing caress, yes,
Yet a caress nevertheless.
How dare I breathe without you?
Why should I breathe without you?
How can I breathe without you?
How can I not?
You are here,
Yet you are not….
Are you not?
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