Sometimes a man needs to create
loss so he can grieve the losses he has
not yet grieved, or has only half understood
or has not understood at all.
The way her note made it seem
like she had never slept in the curve
of his hip. The way he left the other
because the sea kept moving away from him
and he couldn’t find a way to reach her.
Sometimes a man wants to know
the shape of a thing before it is formed.
This man wants to know why
he is holding back from this new woman.
He senses his own body, bent,
and at first believes it is her body bent
on grieving, but it is simply
the soul’s emptiness, the necessary grief
of being human, mortal, foolish and wise.
Sometimes a man does not choose to walk
forward. Instead he stands still and speaks
softly so the others must move close to him
in order to feel met. This is all he wants.
Sometimes the man backs away
though most steadied by moving forward
like a biker riding up the Continental Divide
where the sky is an endless azure
and a lone bird flies over the Rio Grande.
Sometimes a man needs to grieve inside
a woman, let his body tumble toward her,
let the losses he never even knew he had
fall from inside his pockets.
And when the light comes, sometimes a man
needs to say he is unsure, But do come again, do.
And she may, but after lovemaking she will sleep
in the other room until all the women he grieves leave
her space under his white flannel sheets.
—from Rattle #50, Winter 2015
Doris Ferleger: “Pshesh-che-radl-wa, Polish word for sheet, was the first thing I loved to play with in my mouth. Daughter of Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivor immigrants, I grew up in a household where three languages were spoken, sometimes within the same sentence. I loved the sounds of Polish words most, and I loved my father’s stories, full of resonant details that made the Old Country and his lost loved ones come alive. Since childhood, writing poetry has given me a place to explore and express the vibrant particulars of beauty and brokenness, love and loss, and the complexities of human relationships.” (web)