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.
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