Poems about loneliness (Ruby Walker guest column)


Long Summer

Paper grass shivering to cicada songs, scorching my feet on paper roads, paper sun crying light down to burn it all, while I drool over my paper cuts.

I need a place to become friends with my loneliness, or stake it down and bleed it dry. It’s more suspenseful if the monster stays unseen, but this time she wants to be a starlet. Is this thing on? Can you hear me? Can you see me? Do you feel me? Am I making sense at all? Do I still have ten fingers, or is this a dream again? Hello? Hello? Hello?


I don’t want to wear the memories out. I keep them unfrayed by repetition, in a little book, in a little box in the trunk of my brother’s car, in the dark, where it’s warm and where immaculate moments won’t be sun-bleached or rewritten into TV pilots by an overactive imagination, made into folk tales that I pass along to just myself. I save them for long summer nights under a new moon. And when my mind slips and catches against the very best ones, I try not to remember at all.

A List

I am coming up with a list of ways to simulate human touch.

Lying in a patch of sunlight on the porch, those warm boards a smooth sternum, the wind running fingers through my hair.

Buried under years of old quilts,

tracing over past loves until the paper wears thin, scrawling new stories behind my eyelids.

In dreams, sometimes I remember it isn’t safe to get close anymore, but I live for the nights when I forget.

I have a dream about you: we sit in the back of the class and you smile like you’ve won something. In another dream, I carry a thumb-sized lump of gold that drives good people crazy with greed. In countless others, I kiss girls I haven’t met yet.

I wake up in only the sun’s embrace.