Poem – Finding the end

Sometimes I must let thoughts swirl all unformed, nebulous, stars seen through water, no patterns or constellations, just points of light.
I wait and I follow
One thread and then the next, one path
Then the next through the labyrinth, as
The kaleidescope gently tilts and the light changes to green
Then amber, as floor becomes wall and then ceiling.

I found a limit this week, an end of myself, of my capacity
To believe, to hope, to conceal my terror like stuffing all the things
I don’t know what to do with into a spare room and closing the door
Like so many times before it isn’t like the ending of a film
Or a piece of string or the daylight but
Like stepping out of bed in the dark and padding down the hallway
Opening the kitchen door to find
A gaping hole where once there was a floor
A cliff that tears downwards and a dark wind rushing up with the smell of water
The house, the earth, the country itself all fallen into the sea.
That is the coming upon the end of my strength.

At first I am hysterical.
I howl like a dying animal and force my palms into my eyes as if to stop the rain
I take my body and my mind like they are metal I can beat upon an anvil, hot with self hate, and turn into a bridge between
Who am I now and who I wish to be
Who I owe to my loves to be, to my child yet unborn, to the world.

Sanity returns as we start to topple.
I do what all do who stand upon cliffs, and become still.
And there’s a place on the edge that’s without pain
Or joy or hope or love. Blood no longer runs in veins,
There is no more screaming. I look
Perfectly normal. Where my heart used to be
Is an empty restlessness, the dangerous torment of the numbed.
I am alone on a dead planet.

Later I take a step back. My thoughts return
Like gulls wheeling over me. All the threads snapped. Only fragments remain. A memory of skinned
Raw anguish from which all decent people flinch.

I draft no plans and write no treaties
Just rest in the night with the gulls wheeling over
Listening to the tiny whirring of the compass inside me
That will say ‘that way’ and then there’ll be
No night or cliff or screaming in my mind
Just a path and the moon and the next step waiting before me.

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