POEM: If You Didn’t Wake Up

Updated on February 5, 2018

If You Didn’t Wake Up

The Earth is not a cold dead place.
Who told you that

your head was vestigial,
to bury yourself in the carpet

next to the bottles? Who were you
in those falling hours? The neighbors called to complain

about the smell.
I’m packing you into boxes labeled Silverware,

Junk-drawers, clothes for Goodwill.
My face is split in the forks and on the butter knives

I can tell how similar our fingerprints were.

Who passed you these phobias, these pale stories?
Did you stare into the white tunnel?

Your couch barely fits in the elevator.
Your apartment is almost empty.

The mirror’s smudged with leftover oils
and there’s a little toothpaste left in the cap.

I put your loafers in my closet,
the ones we’d steal from each other.

I put your speakers on my desk
next to a stack of mix CDs.

Your guitar is in the corner of my room,
the hollow-body you would never let me play.

Your favorite brand of beer is still
sitting in the freezer.

Your ex-girlfriend called about the funeral.

Don’t worry, she’s not bringing her husband.
Mom told me

to tell you -
the Earth is not a cold dead place.

Questions & Answers


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      • Nicholas Wright2 profile image

        Nicholas Wright 5 weeks ago from Oakland

        Thanks for the comments! I tried to leave the "you" open-ended. Not sure how much that works, but I figured that we've all been the friend, brother/sister, or son/daughter to someone who's entered (or was pushed) into that cave of despair. In this case, I see the narrator as a brother, but hopefully, others can see a little piece of themselves in the narrator as well (no matter where they come from). Thanks again!

        I try to show the little things of life, the way mundane objects are made important because of our desires and interpretations; the way something as small as a spoon can transport our consciousness into a heightened emotional state.

      • snakeslane profile image

        Verlie Burroughs 5 weeks ago from Canada

        Nice soliloquy, 'the earth is not a cold dead place' opening line repeated at the end really works. I love the Mom. The job of sorting through what's left behind is a dismal honour. I like how you treated that with respect. Very sad. I've been there.

      • Quey Jacqueal profile image

        QueyJacqueal 5 weeks ago from United States

        The first read, my I was jolted. With the second, read I am left wondering who is 'You' and who is the Narrator? A brother, friend, son?

        Really enjoyed the captured moment in the poem and especially liked the end.