Loving Through Life’s Longing

Loving Through Life’s Longing

By: Sara Ries Dziekonski


Blog #25


Poetry is my language of love, because for me, my poems are mostly love poems to the world, and prayers. It’s the best and biggest beauty I can give.


And in those love poems, one of my main ingredients is longing. I wonder, are human beings in a constant state of longing? Is to live in the world to experience this reaching, whether it’s for a quiet mind, our younger days, or a past love? My former poetry professor and mentor, Dr. Heather McNaugher, said that poets tend to write the same poem over and over, and I find myself having plenty of notes of longing in this current collection I am working on about motherhood and aging, even through I feel so fulfilled in my new role as a mother.


I can’t believe I’ve reached blog #25, the final blog during this grant period for Creative Pinellas. For this final blog, I thought I’d share some poems from the current collection I am working on. All four poems were published in Denzel Johnson-Green’s Neptune Magazine, which features art and poetry from local artists.


The Stress Train


stopped at our kitchen table,

lights shining on our faces;

I got on—choo-choo.

It was Thai Thursday, too,

takeout, a pandemic.

I brought up bills,

the writing on the calendar,

next week’s election.

Teddy smacked his lips,

drummed his high chair tray.

Maya meowed by her dish

of hardened beef bits.

Candlelight blessed our wooden table.

Tell me, when was the last time

we prefaced a meal with grace?

Thaddeus dipped a spring roll

in peanut sauce. Shut the door;

look at the moon, he said to me,

the other day, when I was worrying.

Now I was stations away, and the Thai

tasted nothing like usual.

I thought, what am I doing—Stop

the train, then returned to my plate.

Teddy flew his hand like a kite,

or maybe he was reaching for me.

A smattering of tiny turkey flowers

sprouted around his lips.

The floor a field of buttercups,

bread tossed at our feet,

colors more divine than usual.

So I started clapping,

then Teddy joined his little palms

again and again, fingers spread,

all eight teeth showing.

Then Thaddeus, too,

his long lovely hands,

and we three clapped

until our bellies were full

and it was just us

beside vacant linoleum tracks.



Grandma’s Brown Spots

a found poem: from Aunt Cheryl’s Facebook comment under a picture of age-spotted hands with bright pink manicured nails


I remember

my mom always lamented

her brown spots, yet


when she passed,

the only organ

she was able to donate


was her skin.


I was told

the beneficiary

was a burn victim.


Black is Beautiful


Oh, how my grandmother soaked up

constant compliments, wore bikinis

until her seventies, daisy dukes and crop tops,

blonde curls bouncing as she raised one shoulder,

then the other like Marilyn Monroe

in that famous white dress.


My friend Danielle and I were teenagers

when we sat at the kitchen table

flipping through her makeup artist book:

glossy pages of white faces.


Except for one.

Grandma saw and said She’s pretty

for a Black girl.


Later, in my bedroom,

Danielle said, Gorgeous

for a human being!

and pointed to the model

with shimmering cheeks, a spirit

that leapt off the page.


Two decades later,

I look up at the sky. Finally,

I say to Grandma, Black is beautiful.


I say to my seven-month-old son

who still doesn’t need to unlearn anything:

Black is beautiful.


And when I see dark skin

in a magazine or on TV, I want

More. On covers,

with lead roles,

in positions of power.


Beautiful     rushing

rivers       of       Blackness.


Black person, Black pen, Black chair,

Black sand, Black stairs, Black sky, Black cat,

Black butterfly, Black person,

person, person: universe.




*First appeared in Cordella Magazine


The contractions

had me writhing

on the ground

making me

a gateway

to the world.

Palms on the floor

I cried to the nurse:

I don’t know what to do.


She straightened

my slipper sock and said

That’s what labor is like.


On the monitor we saw

the contractions had gone from hills

to mountains.

Breathe through it

they say

but you wouldn’t try to go sailing

mid hurricane.

Before the contractions

were too steep to climb


I was dancing through them,

in my olive green hospital gown

joking about my new vintage dress

belly full from Thai.

The nurse said,

Normally it’s jello or popsicles,

that’s it.

I was dancing

any which way I felt

my hair dashing this way

then that

to the song I put on repeat


as I belted out the refrain

I bet you wished you never burned that bridge oh no

‘Cause now you’d like to cross it.


Later lying on the crooked bed

the pain clawing its way through me

it was clear

Bodies are bridges,

and there’s no other way

of crossing.


Dear reader, thank you for taking this journey with me these past months during my first (and hopefully not the last) blog writing experience.


Here’s to loving through all life’s longing—

Peace, love, and a big cozy hug,


photo credit: Thaddeus Ries Dziekonski




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