My Departed Darlings

My darlings have departed who embodied

the fiber the pith of my secret self,
the vertebral steel when
the world folded into the landscape.

My darlings who knew me as I knew them
their bodies burnt to ash ribs pulverized to grit
if I enter the vault behind Virgil’s maxim
will I collect fragments of my marrow resting in the chambers?

I’m alive. For what?
Neither childhood nor future grows...
Excess of being wells up in my heart!

My darlings—without whom I’d not qualify to enter—are stardust.

© Deborah Garcia 2020, All rights reserved


Written this morning, this poem is the fifth of a 365-day project I began on 2/17/2022. I’m committing myself to learning the craft of poetry by writing a poem-a-day in response to daily prompts received in my inbox every morning. Today’s prompt was “My Dead Friends,”–Marie Howe. Though my plans neither include completing nor posting my daily writings, I felt compelled to post this exercise after looking at today’s date: 2/22/2022. It’s theorized that the number two symbolizes balance, duality, and harmony, A unifying energy about finding a power between opposing forces.

This poem is about Elizabeth Rieb, David Garcia, Davin Garcia, and Daniel Burgess: Beloved souls in my spirit circle whose titles are Mother, Husband, Son, Friend. The italicized lines are from the ninth elegy of the Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke. The last lines read: “See I live. On what? Neither childhood nor future grows less… Excess of being wells up in my heart.”

2 Comments on “My Departed Darlings”

  1. This is a lovely poem. I love how you are incorporating pieces of RM Rilke’s poetry into this poem. It’s like a twinkling in darkness, a reverberation, pinging through space and time, Rilke’s words and yours. I love “vertebral steel”, “marrow”, “pith” of the self, and “vault”, “chambers” — these take you to an interior journey, deep down, and there is an echoing of the past in “Virgil’s maxim” (what was Virgil’s maxim? I just know he was a Latin poet from Roman times). Stardust is a lovely way to end the poem, even though that is what we all are in the end, we just don’t like to be reminded of that when the end is such a violent one, through which the subjects have been pulverized into ash.

    • Virgil’s Maxim is the quote of aphorism inscribed on the outer wall of the repository in the September 11th National Museum in NYC. “NO DAY SHALL ERASE YOU FROM THE MEMORY OF TIME.”

      Thank you for your engagement.

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