Poem: The Choice

The Choice

It is an antique, your desk,
long and tilted, the top one wide board,
oak, stained more by time than by choice.
A small bridge holds drawers and cubbies.
A plantation desk, bought at an auction long ago
for far less than its worth, particularly now,
years and untold hours spent there,
working, writing, at times simply staring
out the window towards the quarry across your street.

This is not the place you write those everyday poems
read by the tourists in your life, the small exposures
of self and soul. Those are done in public places,
diners, coffee shops, places full of white noise
and mild distraction that prevent you
from falling too deep into yourself.

There is a picture of the woman you love on the desk.
It was taken the first time she visited,
after a day of walking the quarry, talking
as new lovers will. You were not yet forever,
more passion than permanence,
and the picture reminds you of the journey,
not just yours and hers, but all the time before,
the failures that led to the perfect moment
of you and she becoming us.
Some days, you look at her, smiling and cry.
Happy, raw tears. Her presence found the joy in you,
the joy you were sure you had lost.

It surprises you, the rawness. Most days you are sure
that your healing is complete. Life soars.
There is laughter and certainty. Strength.
You neither mourn or curse your past. You are sure
it lives in you like an old book, a dusty relic. No more.
But old knives stll cut. You still bleed.

It infuriates you, but there it is.
Blood on the table. Blood on the desk. Your blood.
and for a day, maybe two you write the darkness,
write the fight. It is not a choice, to write.
No, the only choice
is whether to keep the blood to yourself
or wipe it up in private, so that those others who bleed
will think they are alone.

About this poem

I seem to be seething today. That is not uncommon on rough days. So here is a third poem.

Last night as we lay in bed, I read yesterday’s poem, In Need of Sistering to my wife. She commented that I should record some of my poems. And I had to admit, I enjoyed reading it aloud. I hear the poems in my head, all the little things and choices I use to make the poems sound a certain way. I hear it in my head, but I rarely actually read them out loud and hear them. In an odd way, it was like discovering a new element to my own work. One I knew was there, but had not experienced.

So here is it, read aloud.



  1. I really enjoyed listening to you, reading your poem. Your voice is very peaceful.
    I hope you will do more of this.
    Thank you, Tom.


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