I lost my mother and older brother when I was 17.
This isn’t meant to make you feel bad for me, to make you wonder what it was like or any other reason that could sum up to anyone ever feeling bad for me.
This poem helped me through, it made me realize I was not the only one in the world to face this. The thing is, this poem put it into words that related to my own suffering. If it doesn’t relate to anyone else, that is okay. I am writing because I want to and if I catch a few people along the way, well that’s mighty fine with me.
Enjoy this poem as much as I do.
Move Pen Move by Shane Koyczan
That’s what mothers say when their sons and daughters go away, they say stay. My mother said go. So I wasn’t there the night she fell out of her wheelchair, so frustrated that she amputated her own legs, or rather tried to with a steak knife. Her life leaking out on the white floor blossoming like roses in the snow. Our relationship was an anthem composed of words like “gotta go”. So we went. And sent our regards on postcards from other places we’d been with stories about all the things we’d seen, that’s how it was with you and I; why say good bye when we could still write.
But then it took your hands.
We should’ve practiced our goodbyes, because then it took your eyes. And I was somewhere, in the middle of nowhere watching the sun rise over a stop sign placed down the centre line of a highway filled with sudden turns for the worse. Running back home ’cause I gotta play nurse. Gotta figure out which pill alleviates which pain, which part of your brain is being used for a boxing bag as your body became a never ending game of freeze tag, taking place in an empty playground.
I was left looking for your limbs in a lost and found, and I couldn’t set you free. So we just sat there.Our heads bent towards each other like flowers in the small hours of the morning, while light wandered in like a warning that time is passing and you right along with it, Bit by bit every day.
And all I could say is if I could I would write you some way out of this, but my gift is useless. And you said no. Write me a poem to make me happy. So I write. Move pen move,Write me a bedroom where cures make love to our cancers…
But my mother just motions to a bottle full of answers and says “help me go”.
And now I know something of how a piano must feel when it looks at the fireplace to see sheet music being used for kindling, Smoke signaling the end of some song that I thought it would take too long to learn. Now I just sit here watching you burn away all those notes I never had a chance to play, to hear the music of what you had to say.
I count out the pills just to see if I can do it.
I can’t even get halfway through it before I turn back into your son and sayStay. I could hook up my heart to your ears, and let my tears be your morphine drip because maybe it’s easier to let you slip away than it is to say goodbye. So I hold my breath. Because in the count down to death the question of “why” melts into “when”. How much time do we have left, because if I knew what I know now then…
Move pen move, write me a mountain. Because headstones are not big enough. My mother says stop it, Write me a poem to make me happy. So I write this.
She smiles and says, “gotta go”. I know.
Thank you for reading,