Poem of the Week | July 13, 2015

This week we offer a new poem by Carlinda D’Alimonte. D’Alimonte is the author of two books of poetry published by Black Moss Press – Now That We Know Who We Are (2004) and Other Living Things (2009). Her poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, The Windsor Review, and many anthologies. Carlinda D’Alimonte has taught high school English and Creative Writing for twenty-five years. Prior to her teaching high-school, she worked as both a sessional instructor and multi-media producer at the University of Windsor and a researcher and writer for CBC television. She lives in Tecumseh, Ontario.
Author’s note:

“In the Waiting Room” is one of the few poems I have not edited extensively. I wrote it one morning following my sister’s death when my focus settled on the idea of dust, detritus, what remains when living is over. I remembered one comment my sister had made about dust, and from those few words the entire poem emerged.
It struck me that dust is essentially made up of dead matter, yet it grows and moves; it follows us, almost taunts us. I’ve often felt that dust pulls me down, threatens to defeat me, or gives me a sense of helplessness, uselessness – synonymous with the idea of death, I suppose. However, I have seldom indulged that feeling for very long. Instead, I’ve fought it, cleared it away, though I’ve remained cognizant of how transitory my efforts were. All of this affected me deeply in those early morning hours when I was trying to make sense of my sister’s death and would wake in the night to write before heading to the high school where I taught at the time. My sister died of peritoneal carcinoma – a slow painful death and because we lived in the same city, I was able to spend a good deal of time with her in that last year. I spent much time thinking and writing about the experience in the very early hours of the days and weeks that followed her passing.


In the Waiting Room


You said something
about dust,
about how it hangs
in the air,
until the sun exposes its fog
and we watch the particles dip and swirl
in a dance against gravity.


You said something about
breathing it into our lungs
and the work of body fluids
washing it away, about


how it fills the space
between your skin and mine,
about how alive something dead could be,
and how it moves through air,
and grows, and how we live through it,
pushing it aside and upward
in ways it doesn’t mind.


You said something about
how easy it is
to forget dust is there,
until you lift a vase
from its place
and see the heavy edge of it,
see how things really are,
how they begin, how they end.


And you said something
about how
if everything
could be still
for long enough,
no movement, no breathing,
no fighting,
we would both be buried
in a thick, thick blanket of moon dust.