A friend asked
if I had written any poems about
Then I listened to
Brad Aaron Modlin’s poem
“What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade”
and Pádraig Ó Tuama talk about it.
Tears came to my eyes.
I didn’t feel
had to find out on their own that
they were enough.
I didn’t know I was
until this me-too
Now I know that
loneliness feels like
not being at home in your own house
not knowing how to pump gas or peel potatoes
being lost in the dark
and forgetting the sound of a loved one’s voice.
Loneliness is waking up to find
there is no Mrs Nelson
or even worse.
but you were absent the day she said everything
your heart wanted to hear.
Thank God for poems.
They are Mrs Nelson.
to where you are.
Everyone you see, you say to them,
Of course you do not do this out loud;
someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this,
this great pull in us
Why not become the one
who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon
what every other eye in this world
is dying to
∗ ∗ ∗
Poetry Unbound is a new series from On Being that invites you to “immerse yourself in a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Short and unhurried; contemplative and energizing. Anchor your week by listening to the everyday poetry of your life, with new episodes on Monday and Friday during the season.” Pádraig Ó Tuama, is a poet and theologian who leads the Corrymeela community of Northern Ireland, an ecumenical community dedicated to reconciliation.