When Death Comes: A Poem

When Death Comes: A Poem 2
Nadia Colburn // April 26, 2022 // 24 Comments

When Death Comes


what will I want back? You in bed
close to me. I have been so hungry
with a hunger you have filled—

you feeding me like the ripe lychees
the birds gorged on that summer
in Costa Rica as we walked barefoot
with our children to the beach.

Red skins on the ground and the white, tender,
flesh-like fruit taken in the beaks of the big black birds with blue feathers
who dropped, when they were done, the smooth brown pits
of the fruit from the tree tops—those birds
whose names we never learned.

Your abdomen, your thighs,
your chest, your fingers, your mouth
that I touch, touch me

                           once and once and once

beyond all counting.


by Nadia Colburn published first in The Curator


WRITING PROMPTS

  • Use the phrase "when death comes" in a poem or prose piece. 
  • What feeds your hungers? What hungers do you have?
  • Use these words in a piece: lychee, feathers, barefoot, thigh, touch, count.


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  1. Dear Nadia, thank you for your insightful and inspiring emails and for sharing your beautiful poem. You are important! Your work given so freely and openly and with such reverence, has prompted me to think more about the craft and progress of my own poetry journey. I too am utterly dismayed and concerned about the news of the Twitter sale and how this will impact and/or further isolate and divide people when free speech as we know it is managed by power and wealth that as you said could eradicate poverty and help resolve a multitude of humanity’s crises. Our voices must rise to protect the values, ideas and conversations that are so integral to being human and sharing this earth together.
    Sincerely,
    Stephanie

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment and thoughts, Stephanie! I'm so glad to be able to share these spaces with you.

  2. Thanks, Nadia, for taking the time to not only share your poems, but for all the writing tips and helpful information.

  3. Thank you for a beautifully written and tender poem. The visual and sensory writing is easy to envision and very calming. Thank you also for all of the kind and understanding comments, your wisdom and admiration for each and everyone of us as we also use our voices to create a beautiful poem, story or memoir. The breathing and meditation practices are most helpful with focus and helping me to let go of the busy mind. I look forward to that calmer state of being which is so worth arriving at because it leads me to a deeper place of creation. The words start to flow and I find my pen just moving along writing vivid thoughts, experiences and emotions that I am able to acknowledge and finally share from my own voice.
    One of the important takeaways from Module 2 coaching session today is asking the question: What do I want to make happen or say in the piece I write? What effect do I want my reader to experience? It’s what makes a good read so much better.
    Sincerely,
    Denise

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Denise. It is exciting to think about what we want to make happen with the words we put on the page…or use anywhere <3

  4. Thanks for always generously sharing your work and your thoughts, and your encouragement of all of us writers in your many circles.
    — Kate

  5. I love your poem. People do not understand that life is not (only) about acquiring power to control everyone, or gaining as much wealth as possible. True living (and loving) is more than that although some would say 'what is there besides this?' This is because they truly do not understand and know why we are here. Look at the intricacies of one leaf, yes, a leaf. The complex computer system cannot be compared to a leaf. So just imagine the whole world with all its natural beauty. Do we understand it all?

    So you get total control of everyone on planet Earth. What does that prove? That you are powerful? You are only powerful because the same people you controlled or are controlling gave you that power. We should not be just followers all the days of our lives. Each of us has our own true power. We must learn to tap into this power and use it for the good of ourselves and by extension humanity – not just try to manipulate a person, a system, a society, a government, a way of thinking, a religious order, an ideology, and so on, for our personal gain.

  6. Dear Nadia,

    Thank you for sharing. The poem is beautiful. Align Your Story has more than met all my expectations. The session yesterday was a very bonding experience. Loved interacting with the three person cohort.

    Pat

  7. Yesterday

    It was a broken patella
    a leg brace from my toe
    to my – that intimate place
    that suffered so unvisited
    for all those weeks.

    A metal brace, a healing thing
    yet a separating thing
    an in-the-way- thing
    uninvited obstacle
    to our pleasuring.

    That kind of pleasuring
    we missed, until this morning and
    the leather and metal and plastic
    hangs on a doorknob
    trust and joy in its place.

    Like newlyweds
    we are gentle and tender
    with one another
    until the appetite tantalized
    remembers the way.

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