Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For Matt

Some of you may know that Eric and I lost our best friend to suicide on August 15th.

For Matt
Days later
and you’re still not here.
We catch ourselves waiting, you know.
The ring of a phone, the ping of an in-box.
Who knew that the center of a human heart could cramp like this
Or that the empty would find us
on the way to the grocery store, driving under these timeworn oaks
in a pair of sunglasses sitting on the counter
in a shopping list left near the edge of the sink.  

Remember when we
went paddle boarding ate fried snickers at the state fair ducked out for Chinese walked the dogs sat in the sand the three of us, watching the full moon bathe itself in the Carolina ocean?
Now dead-lines come and fall away
nowadays words do not stir me,
we avoid each other in the darkness, in the deadness
in the blank spaces where language won’t come
or withers away even though
nothing stops
when you pull of at an exit
the cars pass, the hours tick by
people just
ache or smile or fall in love
with out you.

You would have seen Eric and I
heads together, leaning like young trees
in the storm of your leaving
and the shaking of our heads no no no. There are phone calls to be made and we need to make them. This is good because later, when it sinks in, there is nothing but silence and weight. 
Eventually I pour some wine 
there is anger and I swallow it
because after all, what is left? There is nothing to do but sit in the sunroom 
drugged with sadness
no movements, or doing, til I remember
we were supposed to have dinner

In the kitchen I pull out the collards,
cut the spines even as they blur
because there is something soothing in the sound of
cutting board meets knife.
You would’ve perched on that stool by the island
Your running shoes looking weary, your calves lean and strong
grey eyes looking flat
or full
and I would have looked up and told you
you can’t find what’s missing
if you don’t stick

We'll miss you forever, Matt. I can't believe you're gone. 


  1. And, who says you shouldn't write poetry on your blog? This is gorgeous. Haunting. You made me miss Matt, and I didn't even know him. The emptiness he leaves in his wake is a testament to how much you care. xo

  2. Signe,

    First, let me give you my deepest condolences for the loss of your dear friend. I cannot imagine what it must feel like. But I am grateful that you have the strength of your love with your husband to lean on during this time.
    I did not know who you were until yesterday when my mother sent me an email about a local festival at which you are scheduled to appear. I looked at the list of authors who had written memoirs to see if I could make it to one of their discussions. As painful and profound as the process is, I am writing my own.
    I saw your profile and felt moved by your story. I decided to look for you on the various avenues we use to connect these days and ran into your blog. After reading I found that you are a beautiful and gifted writer. I am looking forward to reading your book in the near future.
    All of this aside, I happened to be flushing time down the drain today on the computer when this post popped up and I decided to read it.
    The reason why I am writing the note, that has now become a letter, is to thank you. A portion of my story is about my battle with depression, the darkness that comes with it and the fight it takes to deny the demons that tell you to give up. I too, have a loving husband who has been a pillar of strength and often told me what you wish you could have said to your friend. Some days he was the only voice of reason and the only one who knew what battles were waging unseen.
    I know it pales in comparison to what you are going through right now but, I just wanted you to know that your words moved me today. I was having a bad day and have considered giving up on telling my story. Then I read your poem and the last few words perched themselves out for me to grab a hold of and tears filled my eyes. It was as if I was sitting in your kitchen and calmed by the rhythm of your chopping and your kindness, I could hear you.
    There is such a stigma on depression and suicide and it's unfortunate. I hope to shed a light on it in some way and hopefully help someone, even for a brief moment, see the lightness that manages to peer through our darkest days.
    I know I cannot heal the pain in your heart but perhaps you might find comfort in knowing that you have comforted me.
    I will be keeping you and yours in my thoughts, as well as all of those who have loved and cared for your friend.
    Thank you again, for your strength and your beautiful words.

  3. How is it possible to create such beauty and sadness out of simple words? You're an amazing writer, Signe. Thank you for sharing this with us. Those of us that loved Matt love you for this.

  4. Signe, blessings on you and Eric. Though we cannot grasp your pain, know that you have a constellation of people thinking about you and sending you healing energy. Blessed be.

  5. Thank you for the support and what a beautiful letter from Anonymous. It lifted me greatly.

  6. Oh Signe, I came to your website today to tell you that I had just read your book and fallen completely in love with it. In fact, I am going to start reading it again and I only finished it yesterday. Your poem was heartbreaking and I am so sorry that you have lost your friend.
    I have lived ( although, existed of tried to survive would be more appropriate words) depression in my family and thankfully medication is keeping the dark days at bay but its a fragile existence and I am ever watchful.
    I just wanted to say that you musn't feel that if you could have said the right words at the right time to your friend or showed him any more love than you already did that you could have made a difference to the outcome. Depression is such a devastatingly dark and lonely place that often words and love just can't penetrate into that bottomless void that opens up. You can only stretch out a hand to help them out but sometimes they have fallen just to far to bring them back.
    Sending you my very best wishes and thanks for your beautiful words.

  7. Thank you for your lovely note, Angela, Lady of the Greenwood, you're kind and I found it very healing indeed! With love, Signe

  8. Haunting and stunning poem, sister. I just found this link from your facebook page and was shocked I hadn't seen it yet. You still have magic in your poetry. You have a gift.