Between the Shadow and the Soul

I thought today would go a lot smoother.  Actually I forgot about it until this morning. Then it hit me.  And stuck with me all day.  Creeping on the edges of my brain, keeping me on the verge of a panic all day.  The due date for Elizabeth (my daughter named her, and since it’s my late Nana’s name I certainly had no objections) didn’t hit me as hard. I don’t know why. Maybe because they’re piling up? Maybe because I know there is another “due day” to come- where nothing is due but disappointment, emptiness and grief?  Maybe because there are babies due all around me, all around my date.  Will I be able to look at them and not think of mine?  Half the time I feel like screaming.  Telling them all.  But tell them what? That my ghost of a child would be here too?  It’s insane.  This one didn’t last long enough to garner a name, and for that I feel awful as well.  She’s a whisper. A glimmer.  Hope. Her name is Hope.

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. 

-Pablo Neruda



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