Shapes VI & VII, A soft geometry

There is a hole there,
where she used to be.

It is quiet most of the time
but sometimes the silence
in the change of the season
is sound enough 
to pressure the skull.

It is a place where a sister 
used to be,
where she will always
used to be.


the shapes of things
come through space,
a ready presence
of permanence and

the shapes of things
crawl through time
like forms through fabric
and the memories become 
a soft geometry.


Nineteen years ago today my sister died.  She had an unknown ticking time-bomb inside her chest and it chose a Saturday morning in October, 1994 to go off.  She was forty-two.  I was twenty-four.   She was the oldest, and I was the youngest.  She is no longer the oldest but I am still the youngest.  She was eighteen years older than I and I suppose that, given the way the numbers fell, it would have been more appropriate, it would have made more sense numerologically for me to write all this a year ago, but I guess I was still not ready.  I needed one more year.  One year of semi-consistent, semi-solid writing to get at this shape that has been staring at me from the shadows for all this time.

Every year since her death, the end of October has been dark. There is always a presence of absence waiting there at the end of the month. Some years one tries to forget, to move on. Some years, one accepts, and keeps quiet about the house. Some years one just stares into the dark for a few weeks and then finds oneself on the other side, somehow in November again.

A few months back, I had a strange dream. I do not often remember my dreams, and even less often do they seem “real.” This time my sister was there. I felt the skin of her face. I sensed her fragrance, still so distinct.  I felt the loss of her more strongly than I had allowed myself to ever feel while awake, for nineteen years.  She was pregnant.  She was never able to have children in life and here she was, a very real ghost, very much with child, hugging me over my own child who, in our own roundabout way, we had named after her.  This dream showed me how very real her memory is, how very fresh old wounds can remain.  This dream let me see the child of my self that I lost nineteen years ago.  This dream made me want, for the first time in a long time, to really look at her death. To get to know it.  Again.  For the first time.  

This soft geometry was finally ready to show its shape to me.

22 thoughts on “Shapes VI & VII, A soft geometry

  1. and now I see…. my condolences on the loss of your Sister ~ October must be a difficult month for you ~ I wish you solace and equanimity until the first day of November arrives ~ in your home and your heart. Thank you for sharing your words and her story. x


  2. You help all of us learn from your experience. Thank you for sharing this. The poem is just right as I felt what you tried to describe below the poem.


  3. A friend shared with me, after losing someone close…you’re never the same, but after awhile you find yourself again. It’s a solo journey so thank you, Gravity, for sharing with us this depth.
    I just finished putting pictures up, of all the people in my life that have passed out of this life, to celebrate Dios del los Muertos. The last day of October.
    Love to you and yours…


    • This “notsameness” seems a part of the finding to me. I would not be me or at least be quite so certain of who I “am” were it not for these losses
      The Day of the Dead remembrance, the pictures, is a tradition that is having more and more appeal for me. I do not usually follow any kinds of “observances”, but I think perhaps it is time.


  4. If she came to you that way in a dream then I think she really did find you. Or you found her.

    Very powerful, John. Of course you have my condolences.Thank you for sharing this.


    • Aw, shucks. I bet you say that to all the Fuckwads.

      Well, apparently my muses are Death, Loss and Dismemberment. (Their like family. You don’t pick them. They pick you.) Well maybe not Dismemberment, but I have written extensively (if you consider short poems “extensive,” which I don’t) on Chronic Pain and Repetitive Stress Disorders…

      I do write about nice stuff sometimes…ok, well, I write about sex sometimes. And stars and galaxies and stuff. And wheelbarrows. And smoking babies. What could be more fun than that?!


  5. Some strikingly beautiful images here — the hole where she used to be, the forms through fabric — but also the sounds of this poem are subtly powerful — presence/permanence/transience, and the vowel rhyme of “soft geometry.” This poem got me.


  6. I have 2 sisters, who will be 80 and 78 this year, the oldest older than me by 16 years. I am beginning to dread any day ahead without either of them. But that is presuming of me, certainly. I can certainly feel for your loss with both of you at such an early age. All the best in 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Carlos. And I share your trepidation about the years to come. I am still the youngest at 51, with a spread from 5 years to 16 years older than I amongst my siblings. My father was the youngest of 10 and I have a LOT of memories of funerals so I know what is–yes, only probably–coming.

      The loss of my sister is fluid, in a way. Some years much sharper and fresher than others, even going on 30 years now.

      Wishing you the best—

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have called each of them since we last exchanged thoughts here. I found myself listening much more than talking in both conversations, and not necessarily to the words only. BTW, did you stop posting here?

        Liked by 1 person

        • You would think so, wouldn’t you? I wouldn’t say I’ve ‘stopped’ just that my creative energies have severely abated, at least where words and images are concerned. Since the beginning of the pandemic I have taken a deep dive back into music–learning how to make it on the computer–but have little felt the urge to share images or words here, though I always have a few things simmering away on back burners….


            • I don’t have nearly that level of chops (though I do LOVE jazz). I have my childhood piano lessons (I remember my scales and chords…basically) and a couple of tutorial courses on song-writing and music theory from Thinkspace Education (Guy Michelmore–he’s also on Youtube). I have a 49-key midi keyboard (very basic), using Garageband (cuz it’s free but I’m looking hard at Logic Pro) and far more virtual instruments (the vast majority free or cheap) and plugins than someone with my paltry skill and dedication has a right to. I’ve really been getting into ambient music: A. because since shortly before the onset of the pandemic I’ve been dealing with some sensory issues (It’s about all I can stand to listen too, most days) and B. I *think* I might just have barely enough skill and knowledge to make some passable ambient music. (It’s a lot easier to fake…just drench it in reverb [instant talent]).


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