The trouble with sleep

Not quite a poem #3

Absent the worry that wrestles a resting mind, sleep dances like an acrobat on a practiced path. No need for a safety net of dreams. He already knows where he will land – clairvoyance for a clear voyage to the place that leaves no questions unanswered and no wound unhealed. Tranquility breeds itself; still air makes no ripples on the water’s surface. Likewise, fear begets fear until all is swallowed in the void. There are those who will insist the sisters must be in balance, lest one destroy the other. We should be so lucky. We lie with whom we are assigned.


Sara’s leaf

Poetry by Jeremy Podolski

I saw you fall
In the usual way

Autumn offering. Ochre whisper.
Tacit descent,
Unremarkable but for its solitude
Singular spirit
Waltzing on unseen breezes
Plummet and pirouette
Reflecting in the dance
Your feather touch
Ribbon kiss
Eyelids like petals from a rose
And before alighting on the grass,
The slightest draft, like baby’s breath
Lifted you above my heart
Suspended in the misty air
Just long enough
For me to know
It was you.

For my dear friends, Kelly and Steve. May you always receive signs.

Telegraphing the punch

Not quite a poem #2

“I know we can make this work. We’ve been through so much together. Don’t go. It won’t happen again.”

But it’s a one-way conversation, speeding down a narrow alley kicking up gutter trash and rancid rain residue in awkward arcs. Echoes are emptier than silence. She recognizes the prelude to a broken promise and lets it vanish into the void. Three years is long enough to know the difference between a glance and a glare, or freedom and force.

“Are you listening to me?”

She imagines living in a place without patterns. She’s going paint each wall a different color. Not quite a poem telegraphing the punchShe might just keep walking west forever so she never has to see another sunset. It’s a journey her father would have admired. Late nights, after playing chess and building forts out of old blankets, he’d recite invented fables and bury the morals inside for her to find. She remembers them all and hears one now. One rotting fruit will turn the branch brown. She thought it meant one thing when she was younger. Now she thinks another.

“I love you,” the man in front of her says, but she sees it coming and has just enough time to duck.

Other stories of twisted love

Not quite a poem

Not quite a poem #1

If this were a poem, each word would pulse with the kind of light that scatters clouds and scrubs alleyways clean of shadow. You would hide your eyes like the night I surprised you with with wine and roses, and we exposed the very last secret between us. Broken into stanzas, our promises would ring out like gospels in a southern church. There’s no shame in reliving the moments that chart our course. Where you see memories like photographs, I see stone chiseled from a sculpture. We are what remains after the work is done. I begged time to preserve us in the golden hour, but this is not quite a poem. We’ll not enjoy selective memory.


Poetry by Jeremy Podolski

First published in Auscult medical humanities journal, 2013

Your heart is a maze,
an architect’s jest.
An artist’s estimate of nature’s intent
Skewing abstract.

Swollen rivers are diverted. Mixed and mingled. Convoluted.
The toll of fighting the headstrong current
Is measured by wounds of the soul.

Wayward paths double back
to undermine their aim
of fueling life;
this strange design
is evidence of chance.

How elegant the danger. How delicate the flaw.
How well-refined the error that defends you,
as a fox protects a fowl.

Inherent, the anomaly
betrays perfection’s sense.
And grays your lips with shortened breaths—
echoes of mortality.

Yet through the tangled twilight is a means to intervene.
Ignite at once the beacon to deploy its steady beam.
By following we free ourselves from these despotic dreams.
On bridges raised to persevere a lifetime yet to lead,
Detours past a destiny once written in your genes.
An atlas for safe passage
Made possible by means
Other than heaven.
Lifting leaden spirits,
Mending shifting rhythms,
Granting youth a wisdom
Chiefly evident with age.
To chart a course discovering
The start of newborn days.
Your heart is amazing.

Congenital - Poetry by Jeremy Podolski

dining room clamor
competing conversations
this is family

Thanksgiving haiku

A poem to honor the journey of adoption

Celebrating National Adoption Month with poetry

I have been a father for six years, a gift first given me by my amazing daughter and made possible through  international adoption. My wife and I are also fortunate to have a remarkable son whose life united with ours three years ago.

November is National Adoption Month, and today, specifically, is National Adoption Day in the United States. Personally, this is a day to reflect upon the journey that led to my family, shaping us from disparate and distant parts into the loving collection of odd and beautiful souls that we are.

Adoption is miraculous, but rooted in trauma. A child’s loss. Parents’ pain. Only through our daily actions can we hope to honor that appropriately. Only through love can we revere the loss. It is a lesson we learned well during our nearly four-year wait to meet our daughter. The years were callous, but joy prevailed.

Our Trinity

By Jeremy Podolski

Among the worlds most never see
Where hope unfurled does little else
But dull a pain disguised to those
Who choose the surface and its peace

We hopped from stone to stone on toes
As rushing water snaked beneath
And slogged through mud that seized our legs
To bid us seek a calm repose

For such surrender we rebuffed
Though time pressed fire to our souls
Which turned to vapor in the heat
But ceded nothing as enough

When standing toe to toe with fear
Or God or Beast, with wait increased
The weight of passion also grew
Like gravity steadfast and clear

What map? What lighthouse shone our way?
The miles in our mind were matched
By those on breezes or concrete
The sum of these turned night to day

What wounds do we believe reverse
When choirs in their hymns converse?

A foolish question, to be true
When what was empty overflows
And daily jolts us from routine
To wonder at what love can do

Embracing each like woven reeds
From two and one we honor three
And plant a tree from distant seeds
Among the worlds most never see

Adoption poetry Our Trinity