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Poem-A-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 350,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication. For more information about how to syndicate Poem-a-Day, contact [email protected].

Entry for Not an Island

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, June 22, 2018.
About this Poem 

“Months after Rohen’s passing on Lopez Island, I kept trying to give grief a form. I wanted to breathe without it draping over my shoulders like an X-ray apron. But grief has the power to shape-shift. I remember walking up the dirt drive in twilight, meeting the gazes of horses in the field. We were all body, no body, an island, a shadow. Loss is also a gift. Then it seemed clear.”
—Gabriel Jesiolowski

Entry for Not an Island

where the sea circles around the island in a star pattern – where in the center of grieving we are disoriented, skinless – where I wade into the field . . . the scent of sun on wheat – where the horses bow in & out, kick up a hoof, satisfied, perhaps, in their available bodies – where I’ve located a tiny refuge : the horizontal view from the house on stilts – where we hide the part of us that shudders, without a script – where in grief, even our own stories feel vacant – where you hear yourself telling the story & at the same time you think that’s not it, that’s really not it – where the ice plants glow in a translucent bandage across the cliff face – where impermanence is the direct expression of emptiness & emptiness is the best description of reality – where you wake from sleep to see someone leaving, but only the drape of their scarf across their back – if grief is a shining fruit

Copyright © 2018 by Gabriel Jesiolowski. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 22, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Gabriel Jesiolowski. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 22, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.