Solitary Self: A Valentine

pocket-presence-framed
I don’t know what possessed this young pacifist years ago to take a class entitled “The Great American War Novel.” I read eight novels about war that summer. A scene from one story sticks with me after forty seven years. A soldier was shot in battle and left to die alone in a foreign field because his squad did not know he was hit. The soldier’s inner dialogue affected me deeply. He died alone and I resolved there and then that ultimately, whether or not accompanied, we all die alone, so I had better learn how to companion myself.

Sometime in those forty seven years I fell in love and the marriage I had hoped for didn’t happen. I learned again how to accompany myself. To all of you out there who are alone today, celebrate yourself! There is a whole community of us.

 

Love In Absentia

 

For ten years
I stepped and misstepped
In and out of the
Craters of your absence,
Tangled in the tidewrack of
Your memory.

You married
Someone else and
The tidewrack tangled
Around wounds not yet congealed,
In craters not yet sealed .

Twenty-nine years of
High tides and low tides have
Closed the craters now.
Tidewrack washes ashore to be sure,
But it doesn’t stay.
While you must be coupled,
I must be solitary.  Your gift to me
Is your absence, wherein I found
My Self.

© rita h kowats