All Tied Up



All Tied Up

All tied up neatly and compact
like so much of your life,
the detritus removed, just bits
& pieces, markers of your life.

A thin red string carefully tied,
a small artery of life, nothing wasted –
neither paper nor words, not
a sentence too much.

Once you were gone, we
searched, trying to find out who
you really were, your life story
unshared, no memories

or tears, no laughter at wild
faults that gather in the folds
of life lurching from drama
to drama and on to anecdote,

perhaps something true
retold and in each retelling,
the story stretched, becoming
richer, fragrant, unforgettable,

a story to listen to over and
over, anticipating the pauses,
watching your ease in building
the text up to a perfect climax

while we sat and held our breath
(even though we knew the end).
It didn’t matter—it didn’t matter
because they were your words,

your words carefully scrawled
in measured rows of indigo ink
tucked away in a small notebook
that never left your side,

while we (your listeners) waited
for something new to slip –
a clue to your other private story,
especially when your mood

shifted from a recognizable world
to a humming ether not understood,
but where we longed to follow
breathing in those tantalizing vapors.

Maybe we would be swept up
in our own story, someplace ready
to be shaped and formed into
the narrative of who we really are,

conjuring up a variety of characters
we wish we might be, a storyline
that could transform the ordinary
into something still undreamt. 

You were here once, but now
you are not, your secrets remain
a mystery, your demons and
your heroes vanished, too.


11 thoughts on “All Tied Up

  1. Reading this in the quiet early morning was magical, sentiments I could relate to, expressed beautifully, transported me to a world of loss and longing and in my case repentance too. Thank you Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Mary, I would love to hear more about this poem on Tuesday! Don’t forget…just in case I do:)

    Love, Yolanda

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Oh Mary, this is lovely! Each stanza is gorgeous and keeps the reader wanting more. I especially liked:
    Maybe we would be swept up
    in our own story, someplace ready
    to be shaped and formed into
    the narrative of who we really are

    There is so much to unfold and take to heart in this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, my blog goes back to 2014 and was all ‘regular’ free verse. When I started to do tanka and haiku I needed to focus on them. Now it’s a way for me to put published poetry out there for others to see. I’m glad you commented. 🕊


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