Poem of the Week | June 08, 2015

This week we’re pleased to offer a new poem by Ellie Francis Douglass. Douglass earned her BA from St. Edward’s University in Austin and is graduating this month from the MFA program at Oregon State University. In 2012, she was an Associate Artists at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, residency 146. You can read another poem of Ellie’s online in Sweet: A Literary Confection, or follow her on twitter (@elliefdouglass).

Author’s note:

“If There Is Anything” is a poem from the collection I am currently finishing about the loss of my father from cancer. My hope for the poems is that they portray the breadth of one experience of mourning: the trauma of witnessing the illness and death of a loved one, my responsibility to remember my dad, possibilities of the afterlife, and the actions and thoughts I use in my daily life to feel a little bit closer to him. In writing these poems, portraying the complex (sometimes contradictory or irrational) emotions of grief in a way that is relatable to the reader was often difficult. This poem, however, flowed easily and needed very little revision, which doesn’t often happen for me. I wrote it after thinking about what I really wanted for my dad now, which, of course, was complicated by what I needed for my own comfort.


If There Is Anything


I hope there is chocolate cake—
you loved chocolate—


and nooks for you to hide
from the other souls when you want to.


You were so quiet.


You knew how to build an igloo,
maybe you still can.


I hope you still have hands.
When you miss me, you can clasp them
and pretend one is mine.


I hope you can miss me. No,
I hope you can’t.