Lament; or, On Discerning Time’s Significance During Grief

By Will Watson / August 2017

NOTE: Below is a lament I wrote for a class not too long ago. As with a lot of creative writing, this poem’s details are not all direct ‘facts’ from my life, so don’t read it like that. But its meaning—especially its intrinsic meaning as a lament—is certainly autobiographical. Enjoy.

A conflicted, young father sat on his back porch, observing the yard.
His wife’s flowerbed—green, full in April—now brown and dead in September.
April was the same month he had secured a mortgage, only to lose his job and home in September.
He rubbed his hair and neck and spoke aloud: “I am out here because I punished my son. He first gave his favorite toy to his younger brother, only to yank it back.”

He feels the steady tremble of the hot wind which means that Time is hearing him,
But—and the young father senses—time is not remembering.
Only he remembers things. He has them preserved.
Behind Time’s wave is his memory, and waves can’t run backward,
But it can and does roll forward and is changing things.

“My daughter is dead, died at birth, and I remember holding her. But my sons make me happy.”
He stood. He knew he needed to begin packing. He loved this home.
Even the dusty burr-covered yard. It had been so green before summer.
He noticed the sole purple plank on the back fence, which his sons had painted, and he smiled.

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