Hurtling

the blur of yellow, orange, red leaves
the blur of gray hair
the blur of occupied hours
the blur of dying dreams

—Terri Guillemets

Existing

I wanted to write
      a book of poetry
but it’s already written;
      those poems —
red, throbbing, beating —
      are just trying to
            make their way
                  to the paper

—Terri Guillemets

Weighed down

the scale now shows me
one hundred sixty-eight
but in those simple digits
I see rejection and pain
sugar, laziness, exhaustion
hormones splayed out of whack
menopause ready to rumble
plaque buildup and repressions
anxiety, regret, some depression
the past, the future, sheer panic
tension, disoriented expectations
ice cream, sweet junk addictions
griefs, hurts, disappointments
bad habits, cliffs, fear, falling
the eating of all my emotions
gluttony and gorging ghosts
turbulent raging blood glucose
sleepless nights, too-busy days
nerves, toxins, worry, age
unwelcome rapid-fire change
lack of trying, trying too hard
loss of control, culinary excesses
no longer fitting into my dresses

—Terri Guillemets

A lesson

Death teaches us meaning
      of the word sudden —
one minute there, one minute
            not —

the blackness, the blankness,
the emptiness, the silence, the void —
the most palpable, oppressing nothing
      there ever was.

—Terri Guillemets

Couch

I long to be close to
where your beating heart
was among its last beats.

I sit on the couch where
we spent your last night —
but cannot bring myself
to be on the cushion where
life was fading from you
and you laid against me.

I didn’t sleep, for vigilance
you didn’t sleep, for pain —
so tired, so dazed, so lucid
so knowing, so loved —
so gone.

—Terri Guillemets

Afloat on hope

a viral magic act
making all disappear
except essentials —
our souls are ailing
emotions tested
communities spread thin
but never so together —

fear and negative mindsets
purpose and positive actions
our generosity unmasked
inspiration is contagious

we live, we die —
we survive, but barely

it’s been so long
we are getting sick of this, but
it’s gotten us closer to ourselves
even as we distance from others

some have perspective —
others have only anger

a year of austere warning from
mother nature, which many won’t heed —
suffering, separation, and need
a year of gratitude and pain
disorder, loss and gain —
yes, many gifts too — science, love
veiled blessings, principle, priorities —
months were lost but not the lessons

we have homework — wrest the energy
to begin our rock-bottom rebuilding

—Terri Guillemets

Vanished

i hurt every day remembering
that i wasn’t there for you
the hardest day of suffering
— i left you painfully alone
when you needed me most
so damn close, but not there
which is the farthest away —
i was a fool, oblivious numbskull
a frozen hearted ragdoll zombie

            i’m sorry

—Terri Guillemets

My heart sees all the better

my eyes can’t see as well anymore
but my heart sees all the better

my ears have begun to fail me
but I hear the quiet budding of success

I move more slowly now
but have learned to be still with myself

my aching body is stiff and sore
but my spirit has never felt so fine

my memory is slipping
but I’ve got a firm grip on what it is to live

my head is going gray
but I have found all my true colors

I get out of bed earlier
but still have plenty of dreams

I live more softly
but don’t back down from doing hard things

my teeth are getting artificially replaced
but my soul is real and all my own

my bones are brittle
but my resolve is strong

I no longer bounce back
but continue to look forward

I tell the same stories over and again
but become a new me every day

I’m nearer to the end
yet I have only just begun

—Terri Guillemets