Sur Angels

The Pacific Ocean, as seen from the Big Sur in California.
The ocean, as seen from the Big Sur in California.

In memory of my late twin brothers, who died five years ago at the young age of 13, I wrote this poem. I was visiting the Big Sur of California for the first time, tracing the steps of notable poets and novelists, and searching for healing during a writers retreat.

As the Monterey pines towered above me and the Pacific Ocean lapped against the rocks hundreds of feet below, I penned these words. Nothing else comes close to describing the heartache of losing my twin brothers.

Sur Angels

On the coast of California,
A violent chill shakes my chest.

It begins in the ocean,
Haven where the blue whales feed
Forcing the waves on rock —
Their loud sigh, salty air, tidal pull.

It moves along the roots,
Twisted tendrils in the dirt
Drinking in the surf —
Softened wood, widened stem, bristled branches.

It rises high above me,
The aging rings of cypress
Casting this life into shadow —
Hardened bark, cold wet breeze, hidden light.

Then it dips into my heart,
A mere feather in the wind;
Calling to me in a solemn voice —
Lift an ear. Hold my hand. Now let go.

Memories seep out of me —
Tender touch, gurgling laugh, wrinkled nose.
Was I supposed to meet you here?
By this age-old tree that outgrew you?

All the things you said to me —
‘Can we please’, ‘Hurry up’, ‘I love you’.
Were those things written here?
Fading words sinking in the sand?

How tight you held me then —
Leaned on me, ran to me, needed me.
Will I be able to find you here?
Like the ocean, ever reaching for the shore…

In memory of Thomas and Lawrence Bunsey, 1998 — 2011
Written by Melissa F. Kaelin
November 16, 2013


One thought on “Sur Angels

  1. Pingback: melissa f. kaelin

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