Sunday, August 17, 2008


- for my brother, Forrest MicaJon Dykes

You didn’t tell me
we would have to climb
in before we could climb up.
I watched you scramble down,
a lizard on mossy rock,
and I forgot my inexperience,
how slick it was,
how late. Waterfalls

trickled down temporary paths,
our shoes squished through mud
and dying leaves on the way to the climbing site.
I joked, this must be why your wife left you.
You laughed easily,
time having worn down the sharp edges,
your hands busy finding holds
and fingering rope,
booming voice urging
hold on, reach, let go.

I’m not sure now
what made me fall.
But there I was, sprawled
across a flat rock,
mosquitoes moving in slow motion,
my arm suddenly taking a different shape.

Dislocated you said, and I held
it out for you, said fix itand turned away as you did
in one quick motion,
no hesitation, dislocation

a feeling you know
one never gets all the way used to,
the pop of bones settling back into place
reassuring but effortless
compared to the uncertain trail ahead,
the climb out of the canyon, the way
bad things happen
but the only thing to do
is keep going.

- Irene Latham

It's no mystery why I selected this poem to share today as I've been feeling a bit dislocated myself lately. I think anytime one is faced with life/death situations, it is a time for re-evaluation. And that, of course, leads to dislocation.

It helps to know that dislocation doesn't usually last... we do eventually find our way again. Just a couple of years after I wrote this poem I watched my brother fall in love, get remarried and become a father to two more gorgeous children.

I know my bones will eventually pop back into place. And once they have, I'll forget again what it's like to be here. Which is why it's important to write our way through the difficult times in life. So there's a record, and we can always remember the journey.

"One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood."

- Agatha Christie


  1. Gosh, Irene, do they? Truly pop back into place, I mean. This whole year has been about life and death struggles for me(and you), and I feel like I will somehow never, ever heal back to normal again. Our lives are paralleling each other in so many ways. We have both suffered an enormous loss, and now we are both watching our dear dads fight for their lives. This journey is so exhausting, my friend. Can't we just sit down by the side of the road for a bit, and breathe? I can't lose my dad, right now, and yet, the choice is not mine. I feel like I am holding on so tight to a rope which is frayed and threadbare, praying for a miracle. Has it been that way for you?

    Beautiful, beautiful poem. I am so happy to know that your brother is living a wonderful life, once again.

    Love you,


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