Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poem: Choke

I wrote this poem about three years ago. A friend of mine at the time was going through a period of significant loss. Her brother and cousin were murdered. Her birth mother died, and her niece was raped all within a year time period. I was living across the country from her at the time, and I watched from afar as she struggled. This I wrote for her.


It takes her again
wraps stiff fingers around her throat
chokes her until the tears run
burning channels into her cheeks
reopening half healed runnels
coffin-nails have left on her face
she calls me gasping
too much
too many
why her
why him
why them
bang bang
they found him in a lake
they found her in a ditch
he was murdered
she was murdered
the violence overshadowed by
the mist that leaders her voice
sodden from her throat
she exhales between questions
I don’t have the answers she needs
the ones she deserves
can’t loosen the grip of too much time
cut short
wrapping around her throat
can’t breath enough for her
can feel the damp
as it pours out of my phone
fills my mouth
runs out of my eyes
two killed
unsolved crimes
two taken too early
all died
this year and last year
too few years between them
too little time for healing
while prayers and prairie dirt fill the holes
they left behind
we’ve sat up nights talking
trying to make sense
of senselessness
of grief
of acceptance with no understanding
while the reaper keeps on reaping
scything through native lives
her life
cold voice laughing
like lines dug in her face
open wounds festering
fearing that she might use alcohol to sterilize
knowing its ability to cauterize
too far away
too far away
to fly to her
pry death away
breath for her when she can’t
pray for her when she can’t
promise her what I can’t
that it’s over
when my promises
are drowned out
by the laughing of the reaper


  1. breath for her when she can’t
    pray for her when she can’t
    promise her what I can’t

    Whoa. Beautiful, and so trapped in tragic reality.

  2. Thanks my friend. And thanks for following me on Twitter. I just returned the favor.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and insights. And thank you for reading!