Saturday, March 7, 2020

like being expelled from Eden

the loss of parent

to lose a parent
is to be wrenched away from sureness,
like losing the sense of where we are
in space, in the material,
how we got here starts to drop away from our knowing,
except in rapidly-receding memory,

the guide we expected to be with us for each new step
suddenly gone: we have to remember how we got here,
and we have to find our way forward on our own,
maybe with the imagined advice of the lost parent,
still, somehow, it feels like
I am the monkey now in charge of the zoo,

I teach middle school, as child morphs into adolescent,
the parent in charge morphs to the parent denied more and more often,
I feel for the parent who has to let go
and who can never let go, really,
for the bond of parent to child
defines much of who we are, at our best, as parents,

tonight, I feel that same bond,
but from the child’s perspective,
as death severs the closeness of the connection of child to parent,

the child, no longer a child, somehow  has to deal with loss,
with the morphing of flesh-and-blood reality into nebulous presence,
all tangled-up in an emotional maelstrom 
of love, appreciation, anger, the unresolved,

to be without the physical parent slaps us 
into having to grow up, and deal, with it all,

like being expelled from Eden,
we are on our own,
and we have to give birth to our tomorrows
feeling alone and feeling pain.

by Henry H. Walker
March 6, ‘20

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