The poetry of Vanessa Poster

We Spoke of Death

Part 1: the night before
A note on a stool in the middle of the kitchen.
Come wake me up, I have something important to tell you.

I treasured each moment,
the 4 months since we’d met,
hesitant until he said it first:

I love you.
 
Part 2: the next morning
He took my hands in his,
How do you want to die?

Breakfast at El Presidente,
Our places set.  Not yet ordered.
The morning light crisp and hopeful.
My wadded-up straw wrapper on the table.

For Morgan, having said
I love you
meant
responsibility
for the manner of my dying

I understood his question.
Tubes? Comas?
DNRs. Plug-pulling.

We had declared our love,
consummated it,
about to break tortilla chips
over it.

As long as I can write, I want to live. I said.

For me, he said, if I can’t wipe my own ass, I want to die.

Part 3: happily, ever after
From our first
I love you
we spoke of death.

Neither of us expected it
to happen so soon.

 

 

 

Truth Becomes Blue

We are in the bathroom, getting ready for bed.
Home from dancing, celebrating friends
He’s wearing his tuxedo and brushing his hair.
Spun gauze 100 strokes.
 
I have something for you
he says.

The floor is cold on my bare feet.
I’m in pajamas.
He pulls me to him.

What?
I say.

He peels nametag from lapel.
His name in blue sharpie, Morgan.

Today his eyes are violets, lilies, forget-me-nots
Sometimes they are robin’s eggs, ocean, firmament

I’m stuck on you
he says
placing the nametag on my forehead.

Where is the truth of this story?
In memory, in poem?
Once I write, once it’s down on paper

The ink on the nametag is blue, not black
He’s wearing a tuxedo, not a suit
Blue, tuxedo become truth, stuck in the writing

He’s not here to confirm.

It’s been 8 months since he died.
The evidence itself, the nametag, is gone.


Vanessa Poster, a member of the Los Angeles Poets and Writer’s Collective, has studied Method Writing with Jack Grapes for more than 20 years and has been teaching creative writing since March, 2017.  Her work has appeared in The Thieving Magpie, ONTHEBUS, I’ll have Wednesday and Went To Ralphs To Get A Chicken.  She is a writing coach and runs a workshop called, “The Write Way: Using the Written Word to Heal Grief.” She is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelors in Humanities and a Masters in Modern Thought and Literature.  She was widowed in 2015 and her poems explore themes of grief, love and gratitude.

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