Angel of Constellations
When you woke I was gone
strange stars fixed
me in pooling darkness
light slipping tossed under and up
floating back to surface-
I awoke to undertow
you to solitude the near silence
of machines breathing
and I— empty bellied angel of light—
showed you the way this way
yes this is the way to heaven step
by step falling down into
cold blue sky
Today the house is quiet, filled with work,
things that creak or drip, that ding softly—
reminders of how to avoid the self, soothe the self.
Today you are gone, and I am alone.
Light pours in warming winter windows like
the cups of your hands that heat my feet this February.
Today I am not lonely but feel the peace
of emptiness, the longing for your voice
as deep and warm as the womb we’re without,
the home behind us that we cannot hold, but
reach to remake, paint, decorate, fill needlessly.
Today, you fill me with need, with words
that must speak, sing sorrows of what
broke in us and what we shattered:
The parents that wrinkle and fade,
the children unborn or scheduled to die
without our knowledge of when, only that.
Today, I need to fill everything that I cannot
see, pressing into the dark corners and crawl-
spaces of memory—boxed vases, hand-
stitched quilts, flannel shirts, blotched photos.
Today, I keep time by a watch worn yesterday,
feel this afternoon light for what comes next,
ordering tomorrow for a house we’ve never met.
Today, we’re miles from mothers, farthest from fathers.
But when the weather turns against us,
we’ll wait out the hours.
Joann Deiudicibusis a writing instructor and assistant for the Composition Program at SUNY New Paltz. Her poems live in Typishly, Lightwood, Chronogram, The Shawangunk Review, Awosting Alchemy, A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley (Codhill Press), Calling All Poets Twentieth Anniversary Anthology and Ekphrasis 2020 (CAPS Press). Poetry co-editor for WaterWrites (Codhill Press) and guest editor for the Shawangunk Review (2020-21), Joann’s essays appear in Reflecting Pool: Poets and the Creative Process (Codhill Press) and Affective Disorder and the Writing Life (Palgrave Macmillan). Ask her about cats, composition, true crime, and confessionalism. http://faculty.newpaltz.edu/joanndeiudicibus/