Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer. Kelly Travis is our guest editor
for December—the month of Hanukah, Kwanza, the winter Solstice, and Christmas, the season of candles and lights, and the darkest month of the year. Darkness is sometimes associated with evil, but good, even necessary things happen in the dark. Seeds germinate underground. Night allows us to see stars and moon, makes candlelight inviting, and nudges us into restorative sleep. The womb is dark. Poetry questions our assumptions and biases, urges us to accept complexity. And so this month’s poems invite us to live with and honor the dark, those places of uncomfortable encounter with helplessness and fear, pain and sorrow, grief and rage. Without darkness, renewal doesn’t happen, and concepts like light and hope lose their meaning.
Kris Bigalk‘s poem The First Day I Un-Loved You is all about awakening.
Awakenings can make us feel like our current life is being ripped away and being pieced back together simultaneously. It feels like being caught between this person we are for someone else, the person we actually are, and the mess of a person we are right now. Therefore, yeah who needs clothes, who needs to shave, do not even make a waxing appointment and yes, Doritos are sustenance.
Awakenings help us to recognize all the ways we make ourselves fit into other people’s rules, margins, and packaging. Is there room on that couch Kris? Let’s sit here and go numb and after that, we can take that purple dress to a second hand store.Kelly Travis
The First Day I Un-Loved You
I sat naked on the couch and put my feet up on the ottoman. I ate Doritos
and let the crumbs fall between the cushions, scatter on the carpet.
I did not check my phone for hours. I turned off the notifications, lay
it face down on the table, a punishment, tied ad gagged.
I turned on the television and watched couples argue in front
of sarcastic judges. I watched unattractive people win cars.
I watched detectives find the truth. I watched the bad guys die.
I put all the cheap florist vases in the recycling bin, threw out
the stale chocolates, emptied the bottle of Chanel down the sink
I took a long, hot shower, didn’t shave my legs, or wax my bikini line.
In the steam of the mirror, I saw myself as you saw me: a blurry
Outline of curves in a cloud, a flesh-colored silence.
I did not wear my purple sweater dress, the one that slides across
my chest, hugs my hips, drapes down just above my knees, where
you liked to set your hand, so your thumb rested on my kneecap.
Kris Bigalk has authored two poetry collections published by NYQ Books: Repeat the Flesh in Numbers (2012) and Enough (2019). Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies, including Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology and The Night’s Magician: Poems About the Moon, and she has won two Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist Grants in poetry. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. She founded and now directs the creative writing program at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.
“The First Day I Un-Loved You” from “Enough” by Kris Bigalk, ©2019, published by NYQ Books. Appears with the permission of the author.