For Joan

posted November 18, 2010

I have nothing to say. I am empty. And anyway:
“Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.”
So why should I write? Why should I speak?
Apple-cheeked, you were here last month, last week, yesterday
And raised your fist in victory
When the doctors said you could go home.
It’s all backwards.
You knew you were going home to die.
You welcomed it.
And we coaxed our faces into reflected, refracted smiles.
In the Bhagavad Gita
Krishna tells Arjuna, “They will all die anyway
May as well be by your hand.”
My daughter writes the alphabet over and over in purple magic marker
The words to her favorite song
She knows language is not life.
It’s an overlay at best
But it does coax the tune back.
I keep returning to my desk
To see if there is a new message from you
Your family found your account
And sends emails to us
I see your name in my inbox
The overlay of you
Still sweet as honey in tannic tea
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O lord.
And still, I would hear you speak once more.
-Nerissa Nields
Nov. 15, 2010

The Comments

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  1. This one is just so lovely. It feels real and alive; uncensored in the best ways. Congratulations on riding the waves of emotion until they flower in the most beautiful ways.

  2. Wow, Nerissa. This is beautiful. I love the line, “the overlay of you.” It’s such a lovely tribute to someone you obviously cared about very deeply. I am sorry for your loss.

  3. Hi, Nerissa

    Been a long time since I’ve had the Nields experience live, but I keep up as best I can from Idaho

    Danna Richards is a great talent writing a song a day for one year.

    I think it would be so cool if y’all could meet up! (I wrote this on my own. She doesn’t know me!)

    All good things,

  4. Hi, Nerissa

    It’s been a long time since I enjoyed the live Nields experience, but I keep up as best I can out in Idaho.

    Danna Richards is a student at the Berkeley school who is writing a song a day for one year and posting them to YouTube. Of course, I think it would be awesome if y’all could meet up!

    Thanks for all you do!
    Marty, aka Tsugupe (old man in Shoshoni)

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