our only sunshine

photo by threelittlebirds (Mindy J).



i reach for him
my body already numb
from too much pinot noir
and anticipate his rejection.

i know he doesn’t mean it but god does
it hurt that he’s left me with only
the shell of his body, his inner core
on retreat in the world of sorrow.

i deal with life for the both of us.
i repaint the pink walls white.
i donate the little dresses to charity.
i put the picture books into boxes
unable to keep from reading each one.
my fingers caress the brightness
on the pages. i hold the hard covers
against my face, nudging the word
love that always seems to be in
the title with my cheek.
leap into me love
never let me go.

tonight the boundary
between our worlds finally collide.
when i reach for him
he lets me hold him.
he lets his body relax into mine
and i feel a piece of darkness
slip out from under us.

you are my sunshine
my only sunshine i say
rubbing his back
kissing the tears away.

we were supposed to sing it to her
i say as our bodies rock back and forth
finally wading through the pain together.


inspired by a readwritepoem prompt about light

About lissa e.

Lissa's offerings include integrative mental health care, meditation and mindful movement (yoga, qigong, improvisation) instruction, and writings offered in an inclusive, compassionate, culturally responsive, and social justice-oriented framework as part of a lifelong mission to reduce suffering for all beings. If you appreciate this offering and would like to support Lissa and their mission to offer sliding scale and donation-based offerings, feel free to donate at venmo @embodiedheartmind or https://www.paypal.me/embodiedheartmind. Thank you. View all posts by lissa e.

17 responses to “our only sunshine

  • aefiel

    this, is something that broke my heart into tiny pieces all over again. we were supposed to sing it to her, we were. you’ve used up my last piece of blotting paper of the nights’ sorrows.

  • Paul

    Beautiful and graceful, restrained but alive with genuine emotion. An immaculate conjuring,

  • nathan1313

    There is so much grief here but rendered with such a tender touch — you’ve respected the moment.

  • paisley

    this is a painful read,, mainly because it is just too vivid.. you have captured the essence of a dying love here,, and in the end,, just the glimmer of a hope of salvage.. excellently crafted lissa…..

  • Scot

    off a prompt–you did this well–put yourself into it–I sang that song to my three girls as when they were young–oddly enough not being able to sing it for whatever reason is still sad

  • Cynthia

    lissa, your naturally empathy brings to you and your
    poetry such a strong insight into all pain and suffering
    and you are able to focus in and write from your
    own heart.

  • Tina Trivett

    Oh Lissa…this one left me with huge tears rolling down my cheeks. Your words express a dark pain, no parent should know. Your amazing.

  • Tina Trivett

    I had to come back & relive this again. I think this is one of those works that stays with you forever. You have gently showed the pain of a mother.

  • ravenswingpoetry

    Wow. Vivid and painful. I also had to reread again because the pain slapped me in the face the first time. I loved it.


  • Jo

    What fascinates me about this is that it is the mother who must be strong. You did an excellent job of a heartbreaking scene.

  • devil mood

    How heartbreaking Lissa! You are a master at unveiling emotions. It’s beautiful.

  • pieceofpie

    yes, it is beautiful.. all the more so b/c he opens to her.. it is not easy being strong behind the weakness of loss and grief… poignant lissa.. those lines drift in and out of her day as if we see her before our eyes…

  • Dave

    Controlled. Strong. You hold back and then, you let it slip, slow and sure. Really fine work.

  • durable pigments

    This is truly heartbreaking. The lines about packing the picture books away, especially, is extremely moving. You’ve captured such love and pain here.

  • twitches

    This is a very difficult subject expertly done. You don’t shy away from it at all but still find the delicacy in it. I especially like these lines:

    “he lets his body relax into mine
    and i feel a piece of darkness
    slip out from under us.”

  • rebecca

    “i know he doesn’t mean it but god does
    it hurt that he’s left me with only
    the shell of his body, his inner core
    on retreat in the world of sorrow.”

    i know this feeling well having lost two children. you have captured what many go thru when they have lost a child…a numbness that is impenetrable by others. empathically captured and with a wisdom of one who’s gone through it.

    this was excellent and beautifully written, lissa. it was tender, filled with sorrow and love. you’ve touched my heart girl.

  • Alexa Cohen

    You have captured that awful feeling with such sensitivity. Rebecca has said it all.

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