portion of the artwork for Amy Sprague's poetry

The Elements of Loss
Amy Sprague

I don’t hear you say my name
as you ask why it is
I let no one love me.
I feel something stir
and I laugh.
This is my way.
There’s no room for clumsy.
Take me or leave me, I
say I’ll give you one chance
when I know I won’t
give you any.
Best to shield before
they want to leave.
But deep in the
infection of my gut
I’m saying
love me, love me.

After my father’s funeral
my mother gave me back
all the things I’d made her
as a child.
I sit at home and look at
the finger paintings,
the sequence snowman,
the pictures of the
little girl of me.
I wonder how she
survived that long.
I wonder how she
faced every day
with bravery and
a kind heart with so
many secrets. Secrets
that weren’t hers.
I wonder what happened
in her little body
that made her fight.
In the hospital,
in my secure room,
all I told my sisters
on visiting day
was “She’s gone, she’s gone
she’s dead! She’s dead!
and now I know what I meant.
To lose someone you hate
makes you love them.
I shake as I write this.

it’s always looking up waiting
for the sky to lift
I’m somewhere in between—way down
and up on my toes
aren’t we all pushing forward—
shouldn’t the earth shift beneath our force—
buds reaching always reaching.
Some of us, we’re always watching,
waiting for our half-remembered dreams
knowing we are not magnificent.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 44 | Fall 2014