Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Story Poems

Tending my mother so intimately led me to reflect on my own aging and mortality. In this fragment from “Body Buddy” from the “Lakeside” section of Sightlines our bodies begin to morph.

From BODY BUDDY

Last night I cuddled around my sweetheart's slim frame,
made more slender by my absence….
I dreamed his body was my mother's body. The body I now know better than my own.
The pendulous breasts of old age, earned in part by suckling three children.
We were born out of this body, a fact more clear to me now that I've tended her body
as a cross of nurse, lover, and daughter.
Her body is the body of my future.
Already, I'm on the downhill slope towards my death,
assuming I limp through old age to find it.

The story-poem form fosters dialogue, character, event, and understated language. What had happened to our family was traumatic; we didn’t need drama. Understated language became the language of healing.

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  1. When I talked, played, and sang of “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary” | Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century

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