Birth Death and In Between

This is how it works:
You start out with your full self
And as you move through life
You leave bits of yourself behind.

Sometimes through violence.
So many of us have been seared
To the palms of hands
The toes of boots
The leading edge of knuckles.

Sometimes through grief.
You leave a portion of yourself at deathbeds.
A part of you is buried with them
Snuggled beside
Keeping them warm.

Sometimes danger
Steals us from ourselves.
A part of me rests on the edge of a knife.

The selfishness of others, too
Robs us of ourselves.
I reside in the arms of those
Who tried to take things
They didn’t deserve
That I was not willing to give
Even though I loved them.

Sometimes beauty
Wins a part of you as well.
There is a piece of me still
On the porch of a lodge
In the Rift Valley at sunrise
Drinking a cup of tea.

A part of me roams the shores
Of lakes and rivers
In every beautiful season
And the corridors of hospitals
Where I left my loved ones behind.

This is how we die:
By living a life
That tears off bits of us
And leaves them behind
Until there’s nothing left to give.

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2 Responses to Birth Death and In Between

  1. Karen says:

    That was one of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever read…I could feel each step along the way. Brought me to tears.

    Oh, the places I’ve left bits of myself….so many I wish I could retrieve.

    Thank you for sharing this, Barb! What would you think about submitting it to various literary contests? I think it’s a winner!

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