After my father dies I become
someone I do not recognize—
days hours weeks days hours
lost to me lost scooped out
blown away I sleep I go to work
I sleep I go to class I do my home
work I sleep I eat I sleep all
with weeping and the unsatisfying
sleep of the unbelieving the loss
bigger than the day bigger than life
no chance left to meet you halfway
to gain your approval to prove
that I am worth it after all.
Finally, I wake to work to go to class
to practice my piano to write my poems
to breathe to walk with my head up
to marry make a home mother children
teach school retire live happily ever
after—and eventually I remember
and try to forget.
Cordelia Hanemann, writer and artist, currently co-hosts Summer Poets, a poetry critique group in Raleigh, NC. Professor emerita retired English professor, she conducts occasional poetry workshops and is active with youth poetry in the North Carolina Poetry Society. She is also a botanical illustrator and lover of all things botanical. She has published in numerous journals including, Atlanta Review, Laurel Review, and California Review; in several anthologies including best-selling Poems for the Ukraine and her chapbook. Her poems have been performed by the Strand Project, featured in select journals, won awards and been nominated for Pushcarts. She is now working on a novel about her Cajun roots.