I Wish It Were Enough to Be–– + The Saddest Thing
I Wish It Were Enough to Be––
the word that comes to mind is ducklike––
go about saying nothing but thank, thank, thank
you to the flowers in the tall grasses.
There’s little to say about the body
in pain. Little, in fact, when sickness eclipses,
about anything at all. Everyone else––
my husband and daughter, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece––
are searching for sea glass, skipping stones,
while back at the house, a whirligig spinning, I’m lying in bed, thinking
about this morning when I went into the biting sea, the shock
intensified me right into existence,
while now––I’m so sick
of being sick––and boom––like yesterday’s lightening-less thunder,
I’m not really here in the dark.
If only what’s happening to me
were like that cattail out the window,
soft as childhood sadness,
catching the light.
Or, how earlier––the small gray rocks along the shore,
as I approached, became birds.
The Saddest Thing
She’s in the kitchen, drinking coffee––
instant––my baby, now fifteen.
Leave me alone! I’m not ready!
my grandmother, our family’s only other
instant coffee drinker (one cup with sugar
and cream, before sleep) used to shout
in bed each night to her dead husband.
I wrote that description
thirty years back. Your story fails,
the teacher had said, to convey why losing a grandmother
is not just but the natural order of things.
As if the natural order of things
The saddest thing that’s ever happened,
my daughter insists now––meaning
the dryer-shrunk condition of the beanie
she pinched from her dad.
She loves her father and me equally.
And her father more.
Is it wrong
I always carried her strapped in the ErgoPack,
If I calibrate how long and when
I’m allowed to put everything down,
the answer, Never.
Drive across that bridge
of self-disdain, I instruct myself,
imagining a tollbooth
and, beyond it, a slip of sky.
Fay Dillof’s poetry has appeared in Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Spillway, FIELD, Rattle, New Ohio Review, Green Mountains Review, Barrow Street, and elsewhere. Fay has been awarded the Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry and the Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry, and has received a John Ciardi Scholarship in Poetry at Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, a Claudia Emerson Scholarship in poetry at Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a grant from Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and an Anne Bastille Residency at Adirondacks Center for Writing. She lives with her husband and daughter in Northern California where she works as a psychotherapist.