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Beyond Me

Beyond Me

(in memory of Karen Hayes)

Mindlessly scrolling,

a familiar photo pops up

with the death announcement

of the queen of

skinny poems.

Read it more than once.

This woman helped me

with a poem days ago.

How I want to share

with the world about

her sincerity, humility,

love of life, but wham!

overwhelm took over.

My mind muddled—

this news had to rock

and shock others, too,

even change the topography

of Arkansas, buckling

into Missouri.

Long rivers

probably flooded

and flowed backwards.

Strange how brains

of people turn

dumb and numb

with bad news.

Surely lips stalled,

silences deepened



must have halted

at the news,

same as when towers fell

or a polar vortex


the sunny delight

out of the nation.

Yes, I’ll share

about her warmth

and turquoise typewriter

by and by,

but not today.

by Pat Durmon, Norfork, Arkansas

Why write about the shock of a loss? To help make the loss real.

I could journal it or blog it, but I’m choosing to write a poem. The main thing is telling it. The telling or writing of it will help me go through the grief stages more quickly. (None of us can skip stages, and I don’t want to get stuck in a stage.)

Maybe I know more than enough about the grief process. Anyway, I invite you to write about your grief if you need to deal with a loss.

It works every time for me.

I’m not letting go of my friend Karen Hayes. (She’s tucked into my heart.) The writing process is about moving through the grief.

Karen’s free verse form is the skinny poem. Seemed the perfect format from which to launch my poem about my shock. And to my way of thinking, she deserves honor. She was joy, kindness, and the queen of the skinny poems.

Dear reader, may you find a blessing somewhere here. I’m going to stop for now. I am tired.

Pat Durmon

P.S. There is so much to grieve in our world. Thank you for Comments and Shares.

Karen Hayes, poet from North Little Rock.

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