Sunday, April 14, 2013

Poem in My Post: Survivor's Guilt

Poem in My Post:  Survivor's Guilt by Patricia Kirkpatrick

April is National Poetry month and every Sunday this month I will be highlighting a poet and a poem.

I chose Minnesota Poet, Patricia Kirkpatrick because last night at the Minnesota Book Awards, she took home a prize for poetry for her collection called Odessa which is published by one of my favorite publishers, Milkweed Press.  Congrats Patricia!

I chose this particular poem because last week my husband's aunt Mary Jo passed away from a brain aneurysm.  She suffered her entire life from painful headaches. This is something I also suffer from and I just want to say that I will miss Aunti Mary Jo a lot.  RIP Mary Jo Lanik

Survivor's Guilt

How I’ve changed may not be apparent.
I limp. Read and write, make tea at the stove
as I practiced in rehab. Sometimes, like fire,
a task overwhelms me. I cry for days, shriek
when the phone rings. Like a page pulled from flame,
I’m singed but intact: I don’t burn down the house.

Later, cleared to drive, I did outpatient rehab. Others
lost legs or clutched withered minds in their hands.
A man who can’t speak recognized me
and held up his finger. I knew he meant
One year since your surgery. Sixteen since his.
Guadalupe wishes daily to be the one before. Nobody
is that. Sometimes, like love, the neurons just cross fire.
You don’t get everything back.

Patricia Kirkpatrick
Source: Poetry (April 2012).