Visiting Miss Helen: Bearing the Guilt 11/27/12
No matter how often I visit Miss Helen
it’s never enough.
No matter how much she enjoys our time together,
there could always be more.
When I have to go, she holds me with her eyes
and asks, “Are you leaving me?” …
to which I reply, “Yes, but I will be back”
(but I don’t say “when”).
What would be the point when her time is timeless
and the difference between a day, a week, and a lifetime
is lost in the eternity of her present moment.
I must appear to her as an angel…
From “the nowhere” I come; into “the nowhere” I disappear,
carrying with me my guilt knowing that I might have stayed longer,
or could return sooner.
I have to trust …
To go back again and again,
I have to trust that it is ok to let her return
to whatever or wherever she goes when I am not around.
Perhaps I flatter myself ...
Perhaps my absence doesn’t even register
until I return and she looks up, smiles,
and welcomes me back with surprise and delight,
not even remembering that I was ever gone.
In this I must trust, so that I can come and go
bearing the guilt of leaving her to her fate
as I embrace my own.
© Reece Burka 2/1/2019
Editor’s Note: In honor of poetry month, we are publishing one poem from the series, “A Suite for Miss Helen,” by Reece Burka. This poetry series tells of the vibrant and beautiful Miss Helen, who had a dancing spirit. You can read the whole series here as well as come back each day in April for the newest poem.