Just Saying

What I felt in each instance [when her parents died] was…regret for time gone by, for things unsaid, for my inability to share or even in any real way to acknowledge, at the end, the pain and helplessness and humiliation they each endured.

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

How easy
it came to us—why
doesn’t Dad
just [insert
action here]: call the doctor,
or get off his butt

and go up
and sit with Mom, or
say something,
or agree
to wearing Depends. Perhaps
it depends on who

is doing
the asking and who
the doing.
This saying
is also true: you don’t know
until you’ve been tried.

The one-year anniversary of my dad’s death is coming up this Monday. He was (not) dealing with his own cancer throughout my mom’s time on hospice. Peace to our s!

“Requiescat in Pace” and 1 more

Now to the last of the prompts for murisopsis’s poetry scavenger hunt. Thank you, dear Muri, for your behind-the-scenes work. Having 13-plus prompts at my fingertips is like being treated to a buffet, and I spent a wonderful week feasting. (Write in haste; post at leisure!) Below is an Anna (in English “Rest in Peace”) followed by a Dr. Stella (in English, “Hope Conquers All”). Peace to your !

Requiescat in Pace

I have not cried,
and what that signifies
is squat. The priest who judged my faith
matured when tears came once was equally
amiss. I navigate the deeps
of faith and loss and love
without a map.

Spes Vincit Omnia

He came; he saw; he conquered. Good
For Caesar. Were he touring
Today, he might go back to bed
And bow his head and pray
His gods his soul to keep. I would
Despair, but hope, enduring
In spite of gloom, subdues my dread.
Vast hope, not just a ray.

“Sound Bites”

In November we remember in a special way our loved ones who have died. Peace to your and to the hearts of all who are grieving.

Sound Bites


My revised wish list:
acoustic tiles for the ceiling,
tapestries for the walls,
carpeting for the kitchen floor.

There is too much dead space
and more echoes
than one person can absorb.


Did you know you can hear
the ticking of the living room clock
from the master bedroom?

Either my hearing’s getting better
or I was deafened by the softness
of your breathing.


Some days I recognize
the tune but not the words;
other days, the same two lines
play in an infinite loop.
Always I dream we are dancing
to a rhythm I used to know.


When I call myself back to reality,
my voice sounds strange,
like I’m on a deserted island
with bad cell phone reception.


I talk into thin air and am crushed
by the weight of your silence.


“How are you doing?” Do you
really want to know?
I fudge a little
or a lot. I would love
to discuss this with you.


I have a raincheck
for a future conversation
tucked between the photo of us
at our wedding and the one of you
in the casket, where I can’t forget it.


Your life spoke volumes. Now
your voice is only a whisper

and I am afraid

I can barely
hear it.

© Stephanie Malley

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 23 – Write a poem based in sound.