Haiku # 277 (to Sarah)

White hairs…
year after year waning,
autumn’s waxing moon.

It was my birthday yesterday, the first birthday you’re not here. I’m still lost and confused, and your absence is still growing, all around me, in my heart. You were my balance, and I still don’t know what to do without you.

Tanka # 50 – to Sarah

Painting by Sarah Mhanna, early 2013
Painting by Sarah Mhanna, early 2013

Your painterly eyes…
the world a canvas
born of your sight,
a fluid river
of shadows and light.

Sarah’s last painting and the only one she dedicated to me. It was left unfinished, as all the other paintings gestating in her. Her presence transformed the world around her, transmuted it into art — this by her presence itself which was radiating, and by her fondness to transform everything around her into art and colour.

You once told me to live and be happy every day. Ah, to be Sarah-Joy, Sarah-Laughter.

Where are you, Sarah?

My sister slept and the crows
came to ask cawing in my ears,
Where is she? Where is she?
And I could only answer with tears,
and I could only answer with fire in my throat
and an unbearable mountain
weighing down my chest,
a wail finding no shore,
an endless stream of memories
clawing at my skin
and hurling me into the sky
formed by her smile,
I could only answer with vagrant eyes
and an uprooted heart
now a feast for crows
cawing without respite,
now a feast for a flame
burning, burning…

Again I Woke Last Night

Last night I woke again suffocating,
again I was with you in that awful room as you passed away,
the cold whiteness of the walls, your clothes, and your face
burning me with an insatiable pain.

Again I woke last night
and the darkness was a vast sea
crushing my chest, deafening my ears
with the lugubrious roar of your dwindling breath,
your suffocating pleas as you faded and sank into the nether,
into that dark place where I cannot follow without killing myself.

Again I woke feeling my throat burn
as though a river of fire were gushing through,
fiery spikes peeling at the flesh
as my tears fell to water the image of your face,
your warm and happy presence which I’ll never feel again,
your love which cradled me flesh to bone, heart and soul.

Again I woke and I tried to call you
but my voice faded like a sun that will not give light,
the fresh and tremendous pain of our parting
again heaving inside of me
even deeper than that first moment when you died,
tumultuous waves crashing against the walls of my skin on the inside
and ebbing back into my core as they failed to break out.
My skin grew transparent swallowing the whole blackness of the night
as again I sank into my pillow
like a stone falling through dark waters and calling, calling,
bubbles finding no surface on which to burst,
a mute voice echoing inside no ears but my own,
a black earth failing to burn even with the smallest firefly.