Long ago now

I am searching for my feelings
through shelves of dusty books
can’t help but feel I’ve left them
in some forgotten ancient nooks
as if an author long before me
captured my emotions in his day
and saved them in fine poetry
for future me to find someway

—Terri Guillemets

Umber

there are only so many poems one can write
about umber tree roots and the glowing moon
before the psyche starts crying out to be heard
the suffering of the world isn’t poetic
but it is essential to poetry

—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

Burning

for love’s rewards we stick our necks out
vulnerability a’pulse, blissful anticipation —
and love kisses our risk and nuzzles our napes
but after a time — short or long or in between —
we lose our heads to his swift sharp guillotine
our foolish blind hearts beat on nonetheless
and carry a torch right up to the inquest

—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

A January day that lives forever

In my mind —
      I’ve tried a million
      times to go back
      to that day —
tried to change
      my choices
begged a do-over
      from the universe
I’ve crippled myself with
      guilt
      sorrow
thrashing the quicksand
      sinking in
      layers of grief
fighting a sticky web
      trapped in
      regret-regret-regret
I don’t even care about
      my own
      broken heart
I’m sorry
      I broke yours

—Terri Guillemets

Transforming

I translate stars into daydreams
I make rain and rainbows into
      freshly squeezed joy
I breathe the air of possibility
I swim deep in rivers of passion
I use my loneliness as
      stepping stones to love
I am on the march to freedom
I tend to my blossoming soul

—Terri Guillemets

Memorial

grieving makes us stronger —
it gives us a spirit of grace
      and the grace of spirit
our hearts feel weaker
      but living past loss is
      the ultimate courage
we honor our loved ones
      by living on despite —
      and all the more because

—Terri Guillemets