Staring Into Space

Perched between the arms

of an overstuffed chair,

she sat staring blank-faced

into space that was neither

here nor there, yearning neither

for what was nor what might be

but for a sharp pencil and

a clean sheet of paper.

She would make one column

of the things she meant to be

beside a second with the things

she had became, to include

the mixed degrees of success

in raising children and keeping

one husband (somewhat) happy.

Column three would hold a list

of pieces that had sheared off

since her birth like the twisted

bit of umbilical cord a baby retains

then sheds; a small desire,

a budded hope,

the unspoken possibility

of being other than who she was,

written before they faded entirely

from her view, one by one.


©Dana Hughes 11.20.2017

One thought on “Staring Into Space

  1. You do wistful sadness well. Seems to me this poem drives–or maybe “drifts” is a better word–toward the third column, with its vestigial umbilical hopes, dried and gone, but not quite forgotten. I think the real gift of that column–and this poem–is that it makes me think of my own third column. Thanks for this.

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