Poem for a Friend Growing Lighter and Lighter | Abe Louise Young
Abe Louise Young is a believer in the power of words, generosity and vulnerability to make meaningful change. This chapbook accompanies a traveling installation of handwritten letters, poems and ephemera exchanged between Abe Louise and poet Alan Shefsky, who exchanged more than 3000 pieces of poetic correspondence over thirteen years.
Abe Louise is the author of two other chapbooks of poetry, Heaven to Me (Headmistress Press, 2017), Ammonite (Magnolia Press Collective, 2011). She is a native of New Orleans and lives in Austin, Texas. Visit her at www.abelouiseyoung.com.
5) --the anger stage
You’re secretly standing at the edge of a mirror yelling
at your face, I hate you, you colostomy bag, you pauper, you faker
and stomping in the shower to get your life back.
You’re branding your skin, starving your body,
burning the photos of your childhood. No one is
allowed to look straight at stage 4 brain cancer shame.
You stomp on the floor to break the mirror
but the mirror is a river, it doesn't ever shatter.
The river tumbles quietly over stones.
Friend, here is a remedy: imagine yourself already dead.
It’s a pain reliever. Imagine the words
we’ll say about your life, how sparkling your heart.
Imagine the Hebrew songs we’ll sing at your memorial
under cedar trees and Illinois sky, imagine our
teardrops falling one by one onto the grass.
Listen to the words we’ll speak. Hear your story.
Remember, to some people you were a clear, unbreakable mirror.
We saw our souls in you, and it was good.