Sorrow for the one I was and had to leave in that place
Words like Fate and Pain
Ostalgia: this strange and perfect word
means bone pain, but it carries my regret,
it is freighted like the word Saudades
Elizabeth Bishop loved, meaning homesickness,
longing for a place, missing your friends.
The word evokes the hospital, lighted up like an ocean liner
bearing me on and on through the dark,
its windows cool to the feverish touch, it calls back
whispered consultations, and a faint throbbing
of engines somewhere deep within the building.
The sound of it brings sorrow for the one I was
and had to leave in that place
as if I were driving away from my friend for the last time,
leaving her standing there, finite and brave,
her body diminishing in the mirror.
It brings the steady ticking of the winter rains,
the water glass beside the bed, your small cool hands
before you left, and the silence.
It conjures for me even the wild panicked smell
of pain too great to bear, when the fragile soul
goes under suddenly, without a word.
- Karen Fisher (x)