15 June 2020

Admit loneliness: An exercise on enjambment

I thought about measuring the length of loneliness, how it stretches in every direction and connects every closed door (surely influenced by this specific kind of loneliness brought on by the pandemic). The image or any play on those words didn't make it to this poem.

Earlier drafts had three parts, each consisting of quatrains that begin and end in complete sentences. Visually I wanted the verses to look like a series of small blocks — a resolute, even predictable knock. But it came off too stiff for the idea of loneliness seeping through our lives, even in moments of genuine happiness.
Admit Loneliness

Someone's knocking on the door,
Spoils the rest between a kiss
In a dream and your first glimpse
Of sunlight. Its rapping reverberates,

Takes on the rhythm
Your hands make as you knead
The dough that would become bread.
So you knock harder 'til the noise yields

To your daughter's smart talk,
Your book's swooshing pages, ding
Of mobile phone — "We miss you" —
Tender smacks from real kisses.

Someone's knocking on the door.
Will you love me this way in this hour?
It asks with no preamble, then proceeds
To hail a memory:

The word on hold in fear
Of futures wrong. Sentences
Written with care
In shut notebooks. Happiness

Is the loyalty of routine and the surprise
Born because of it. Look at the sunset.
Now feel your heart
Throb with joy or sadness.

Someone's knocking on the door,
Hear a sound that you can tame
Into silence or wake into song
Once greeted by its name.

—Razel Estrella (June 2020)

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