January 3, 2024


A poem. Sometimes, only poetry can capture how we feel.


Nothing but ocean.

Vast. Infinite.
An undulating mirror of black.

The heavens.

Opaque. Oppressive.
An endless canvas of gray.

The calm belies the storm that proceeded.
Blown off course. Rudder long rendered meaningless.
No engine, no sail, no paddle, no . . .

Still, I grip the sides of my tiny boat.
My bloodied, splintered palms, a reminder of what transpired.

Day becomes night. Night becomes day.
Today, the same as yesterday,
As the day before,
As the day before.

Weeping, I search the horizon.
The universe reduced to a binary monochrome,
Separating black from gray,
Promising nothing but nothingness.


A spark? A point of light? A fevered imagining?

There it is again. A star?
Disappearing. Appearing. Then gone again.

I look left, then right. Then forward.


Brushing aside my tears,
    I dip my hand,
        And push.

Todd's mother passed away unexpectedly in late 2022—his father earlier that same year.

Copyright © 2022 Todd Warner, revised 2024-01-18
This poem, in slightly different form, first appeared in County Lines: A Literary Journal, volume 11, 2024 (December 3, 2023).

Photo credit (heavily edited): Fernando Jorge on Unsplash