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The Road So Far Poetry by Jacqui Harrah


The Road So Far Table of contents

A Letter to Myself Perfect for Me Ever After Just One Day Him What is Lost Silence Beyond the Fence ’52 Chevy When I Cry Our Love The Road So Far When He Is Gone


A Letter to Myself Things are clearer to me now than then; of course, it is always this way.

There are many things that the me that is would say to the me that was if it were possible. Things are clearer to me now than then; of course, it is always this way. I would tell the me that was not to judge him by the other men who have hurt you and broken your heart. He was not them and never will be, and the heartbreaks will be small in comparison. I would tell the me that was not to wait for him to save you, he has his own problems and you are strong enough to save yourself. I would tell the me that was not to wish for him to be different, the me that you will be will miss the him that was. And remember that different could mean worse. The me that is would tell the me that was to enjoy the small kisses and gentle touches because these can be lost in the hectic times of life. I would tell the me that was to learn to be happy before it is too late for the me that is.


Perfect for Me That indefinable quality that makes him perfect for me

Hands lined with small cracks, the grime of work rubbed in deep, impossible to remove. Hair dark and salted with white, the seasoning from his years of life. Arms muscled by years of hard work, not by a gym. Back broad and well suited to carry the weight of a family. Eyes blue and clear as truth, seeing the beauty around him. All this plus that indefinable quality that makes him perfect for me, and makes him the man I love.


Ever After After the kiss there is a day, and another day

Movies and books lied to me when I was young. Servant girls became princesses to charming princes and prostitutes became wives to billionaire businessmen. They showed love overcoming all obstacles, a declaration and a kiss, then the end of the story in which they lived happily ever after. But that is just a story. After the kiss there is day, and another day, and another, all bleeding together with happiness as a goal that is not always reached, and the best that can be hoped for is to find a way to tread water in between the times of exquisite swimming and drowning in routine. There can be an ever after but the happy is not guaranteed.


Just One Day I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this wonderful event

I’ve heard the sunrise is a beautiful sight, watching the earth awake under the warmth of the sun. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this wonderful event, not because I am asleep, but because I am too busy. I wake up first and then awake six others, three of whom are well old enough to wake themselves. By the time my family is awake and dressed, ready for the day, the sun has been up for awhile and all I can think is that it always rises too early. The middle of the day is quiet and I wish I could do whatever I please but first there are other obligations to attend to, there’s: laundry dishes sweeping mopping beds to make floors to vacuum homework to do. The sun is high in the sky but I don’t see it, my head is too tired to look up.


The afternoon brings home my children each needing something different from me. It is amazing how these little people can inspire such love and joy and then frustration not much later. The low sun winks at me through a window as I walk from one room to another helping with homework and directing little hands in chores. It is astounding how I never get everything done. The evening arrives along with my husband and when I meet him at the door the sun is lying beneath the mountain’s horizon, no longer visible, but its rays still streak across the sky. I reach for his hand, covered in calluses, and he smiles a tired smile at me and I know it won’t be long before he is asleep with hardly a word passing between us. Finally, the night has arrived and everyone is in bed. This is why I am a night owl, it is so quiet and I can be alone in a house full of people. I can think my own thoughts without interruption from the normal demands of the day. No chores to do, no meals to cook, no questions to answer. I walk outside in the dark and look at the stars, standing under the light of a thousand suns.


Him I loved him most When he came home from work “The Shipfitter’s Wife” by Dorianne Laux

I don’t even realize how much I’ve missed him until he comes home. His smile is like the light of dawn after the nighttime of his absence. The lines that crinkle his eyes are like the roots of majestic trees that grow inside the barren desert of my heart where I never thought love could flourish. Now a whole forest blooms inside my chest.


What is Lost Time alone became an endangered species.

In the beginning, when it was just the two of us, time was easy to find and quickly spent in pursuit of our desires. When one by one we were happily joined by smaller versions of ourselves, time alone became an endangered species. Long nights spent talking and loving are no more, once the boogey man chased little ones into our bed where solace can only be found lying between us. We reach over tiny sleeping heads to touch hands, the only physical contact of the day, and with each one that passes, we miss it less. The work of the world makes you ache and grumble and the work of the house leaves me frustrated and tired, it is easier to fall asleep in silence than to make an effort. What is lost is not gone forever, only temporarily misplaced until the time comes again when it is only us, and the needs we meet are only for each other.


Silence I yearn for the sound of your voice as I yearn for air

The silence between the stars is different than the silence between us but just as vast. I yearn for the sound of your voice as I yearn for air, drowning under water, desperate to breathe. Have we told all our stories, used up all the words until any we could say are meaningless? Just when I think the silence will not be broken, you reach out for me in ways that words cannot express.


Beyond the Fence He has planted me in the yard of his life

The fence was in a desolate area, guarding sagebrush and weeds, the razor wire on top reflected the setting sun. It was cold to my touch as I pulled on the gate, rattling the rusty chain, but the heavy lock held, despite its old age. The warning sign held my attention and I listened for a dog but heard only the wind weave itself through the chain link. The scent of the sagebrush I crushed driving to this spot lingered deeply in my nose and made my head swim. In the failing light I couldn’t quite make out what was behind the fence, I only knew it was where I wanted to be. A flash of light revealed something made of metal, or at least the idea of something, all sharp edges and angles. Maybe it was an old car, that’s what I really wanted it to be, an old car, the kind my husband loves to gather and plant in the yard. The kind that some think are past their prime, worthless, but My husband stills sees their potential. And I wonder if that is what he thinks of me and why he has planted me in the yard of his life. And I wonder if, in the failing light, I have reached the potential he saw in me, or if I am still a work in progress. And I don’t know how I feel about either of these options.


’52 Chevy Words I had never spoken before tumbled from my mouth and into your confidence

I will always remember the night I told you how much I hated my body. My voice cracked but I refused to cry, as words I had never spoken before tumbled from my mouth and into your confidence. I thought if I didn’t mention it, maybe you would not notice how much my body had changed. You shook your head and comforted me in a way that is uniquely your own. “Don’t you know why I love the classic cars so much?” you asked. “Look at the style of a ’52 Chevy, the rounded fenders, the domed headlights, all the curves give it substance the new cars just don’t have,” you said as your hands travelled over my body, then you kissed me as I laughed, and for a time you made me forget my wish to be sleek and streamlined, because you loved me when I did not love myself.


When I Cry They overflow the hands I hold out to catch my sorrows

I hate it when I cry. I have resisted as long as I could, but my face hurts, like angry bees buzzing beneath my skin until I give in to unrelenting force. The world blurs as I release the pressure of heartache that has built up behind my eyes. They are like taps that, once on, I can’t turn off, and they overflow the hands I hold out to catch my sorrows, seeping though my fingers and escaping capture. The whole world has crumpled to this one point of pain and I hide myself from any curious eyes that might question or comfort, until I have control again. You haven’t noticed my absence, or my red eyes and hoarse voice. You have no idea what you have done. I hate it when you make me cry.


Our Love The mysteries at its depths remain hidden to all

Love ebbs and flows over time, like the ocean, yet remains just as deep. The mysteries at its depths remain hidden to all but the most courageous enough to drown in the heart of another.


The Road So Far When we first started on our journey the road of life was wide open with potential

When we first started on our journey the road of life was wide open with potential. We made big decisions with the heaviness of responsibility— where to live, buying a house, when to have kids and how many. We planned our lives in terms of decades and with each decision the road narrowed and sometimes we forgot to enjoy the journey. We never realized we were getting older until the kids were taller than us and making decisions about their own lives. And now the responsibilities don’t seem as great and instead of planning our lives around the kids we are planning our lives without them. We have started to think about retirement and the fun to be had if we can only stay awake. The road is now a single lane and I hope there is still more of it ahead of us than there is behind.


When He Is Gone I want to keep him close, always with me.

He jokes about burying him in the backyard, but he will be dead and I have other plans. I want to keep him close, always with me. I don’t want to think of him lying in the ground year after year, until there is nothing left. I would rather the destruction be quick, his body engulfed in an intense flame, then I will have something left to hold onto. Ashes in an urn to carry with me throughout the day, sitting in the dirt next to me while I garden, on the couch next to me while I watch a movie, next to me in the front seat of the car while I drive through town, and then placing him on his night stand, to watch over me while I sleep. Always next to me, just like he was in life. I don’t want to imagine him any other way.


The Road So Far Written by Jacqui Harrah Copyright 2011


When we first started on our journey the road of life was wide open with potential.

The Road So Far  

Poetry by Jacqui Harrah

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