Adolescent unit

by Lisa Delan 

i. (before)

Your sorrow
  not knowing itself,
       just outside of
my reach -

I want to inhale it
   from your bent form,
         to siphon the sting
and to know -

My child born in light
    I would sing you to morning 
          if it would spark 
and reveal you -

The angels of night
     tender in your pain
          caress your back
under the pile of blankets -

While down the hall
    my heart remembers
          your shining eyes
waiting to be born again.

ii. (hospital)

I watched you laughing
you did not see me 
nor the small hairline in
my hope that mended 
in that moment.

When you wore
the silly headband and
played four square with
checkers and vamped 
with the blow up ball...

My heart was sinewed,
so cautiously mending 
I did not stir the air,
did not risk movement;
I cannot stay this still.

So when you come back
I will not hold my breath,
I will exhale into these moments, 
and let my lungs expand with
all we have and cannot hold.

iii. (again)

You are untethered again
and my life becomes smaller
wants recede 
and there is only now,
this moment when you laugh,
this moment when 
you disappear,
this moment in which I can 
comfort you;
this moment where I cannot 
reach you.

I open my hands, 
see they are empty,
and so it is I understand  
I have no power here, and
no illusions to soften 
my impotence.
I want to gather a plush lie 
around me,
but my damp body chills
as droplets of water gather
on the unprotected tiles.

About the author:

Lisa Delan is classical soprano who passionately performs song settings of a wide range of poems by visionary writers. She has recorded extensively for the Pentatone label and can be heard on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.

Lisa’s own poetic voice explores interior landscapes as seen through the shifting prism of time, and through the connection of self to other. Her work was recently published in Beyond Words Literary Magazine, the Mill Valley Literary Review, and Wingless Dreamer, and will be featured in upcoming issues of Viewless Wings and Cathexis Northwest Press.
@lisadelan on Instagram and Facebook

Header photo by Dominik Kuhn on Unsplash.