I Fear Me This - is loneliness -, poetry by Barbara Harris Leonhard at Spillwords.com
Ekaterina Astakhova

I Fear Me This – Is Loneliness –

I Fear Me This – is loneliness –

written by: Barbara Harris Leonhard



-Emily Dickinson, “The Loneliness One dare not sound-

Emily, you sought your solitude
at your desk by a bedroom window,
composing poems and letters to the world
that never wrote to you.

My room, a solitary sanctuary
with a view to the street.
I compose notes with blessings
to lift others up during this tender time
of ire and illness.

Your seclusion, Emily, chosen
from grief and loss.

Mine, too, as I hear of deaths.
Families felled by COVID.
Strain after strain.
Again and again.

Occasionally you lowered
baked goods in baskets to children
celebrating innocent sun.

I watch children in our neighborhood park
attempt a great escape
down small slopes of ice
to the creek.

Outside your winter sky
hid cold birds in a haze

like the masks we should wear these days
to spare our lives.

You wished to help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again.

At my window daily, a solitary robin
smacks his body into his own reflection.
Repeatedly – My fear of death
mutates into chaos.

For you, Emily,
a garden of grief bloomed
a leather-bound herbarium. Sorrow plucked
and pressed between flimsies.

On my notes and poems, I press stickers
of wildflowers and butterflies. My handwriting
meanders in my tiny gardens of verse
that snail mail delivers to loved ones
in pearly shells.

Our windows – glassy protection from what waits
in the soul’s Caverns and its Corridors
that can Illuminate-or seal-.

As our stars rage their light
into gossamer tears –
our pens open
many doors.

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