the soul, stripped bare — a tiny poem

after enough loss in life — of loves, of dreams, of anything

you might find yourself like this

a branch, denuded on a shore

worst are the revelations, though

a bride stripped bare by her bachelors


left nothing

left with nothing

not even a little scrap of gold

he’s making you sell it

some lost lock of childhood

some little silver spoon you had in your mouth — that he never had


it’s at that juncture

where something in your soul starts to shake

something alights akin to fire


at the bottom of the pit in the sadness

what you realize is what she always taught you, your mother

that we come in to and out of this world alone and the exit always waits if you want it

what I’d say though, to a fellow traveler, is

that nothing will remain in the end

once you’ve seen the sweep of your mother go away

her legion possessions

your whole way of being washed away in the tide

like so many objects you’re going to carry forth


on the phone as your voice shakes calling the dealer

he’s asking about candlesticks and silverware

and your whole elegant simplicity

inheritance of a generation of three women, passed down at last to you

a bloodline ended


you’re gathering your silver spoons

you’re noticing the ruse


when he married you he said

“how you used to walk by, with your nose in the air like that”

it occurs to you just what you’ve done

and the mistake is a tremor

a faultline

an edge

a sacrifice

a hatred

a door

that slowly opens


“the soul stripped bare” — copyright 2011 — all rights reserved


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