Posts Tagged ‘prose’


I come reckoning to you

caught between thaw and snowdrift

an illusion if you want me to be

a reality you cannot face nor wanted to

a broken dream once long ago you

tried to fix before accepting that to

love me, was to love the

shattered parts



Did the prisms of my wounds

blind you with their trailing brilliance?

Could even darkness from

 my silence deafen

you enough

 to close




Can we mend this distance

quick enough

to conceive our



I come aching for you.

The pain is worth every step.

I hope for nothing

 but to die

in your arms as the

 only woman

you ever loved


 never to



Was I the thunder that struck

your desert heart?

 I surrender

to you, but not

 as any


thing seeking


I am the strength of your

weakened core.



bombing the

 atoms of



of love.  Now it’s time again

to watch, like magic,

 how the


always fall

around us,

as if even


knew of

 no other





© Susan Joyner-Stumpf




I should be used to burying

People, I thought to myself.

And now, at my father’s service,

Grief reminded me without fail

That I had outlived them

All, my entire family.

Survivor’s guilt is

Alive and well.

Mother and brother and now

Father, ashes to the nonchalant wind

And now even laughing stars

forget their Mortal names.

During the Eulogy I didn’t

Even remember speaking,

And after everyone had

Already been settled in their


That’s when she slipped in,

Stayed hunched in the back row,

dressed in black finery and

adorned with a vintage

Hat of netted lace veil

Hiding her mysterious face.

She left before I could reach her,

Before the service was

Finished and after I’d already


Others prodded, who was she?

I didn’t know.

They joked, she must have been

Your father’s concubine, who

          Else could she be?

I didn’t see the humor until

I realized no one was laughing.

My husband and I were last

To leave with Pastor Paul,

Laden with flowers and cards.

We finally made

It to our car.

Rain started.

I looked back at the brick façade

Of the Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home

Knowing I’d never see it again,

Carrying what little remained

Of father in my hands, then

placing it gently on the backseat.

That life,

That anger, torment,

Successes and failures,

Ice words and

smoldering fires of passion

He left behind for us to


It’s the secrets

He took with him,

Remnants perhaps

Sealed in this porcelain vase,

Or in that dark pool of sky,

Trapped somewhere in

An ebony coiffed bonnet

Of some stranger that whisked in like

A terrible, but small hurricane to pay

Respects to someone she


I feel a draft as like a door, left ajar

Where you can’t see in from standing

Outside as hard as you try to

Peer in.

Oh Winter, so on this sweltering

New Orleans July  Saturday,

You have arrived early!


© Susan Joyner-Stumpf