Diana Raab 

Haunted By Images


Everyday I wake up haunted
by the image of finding
my grandmother dead fifty years hence

she sixty, me ten.
I roll over in this unmade bed
and flinch at the image of her
placing my fingers on those keys

of her Remington typewriter
perched on her vanity, the room
beside mine where I found her—

dead from an overdose
of sleeping pills, that pale face lying
on its side, blonde disheveled hair

with a Graham Greene novel splayed
across her abdomen and sheer
curtains swaying in the window beside.

Today, while reading her journal
I swallowed her pain,
orphaned at the fragile age of twelve
in war-torn Galicia.

I take my well of courage from writing
which also offered grandma solace
and now nurtures my own precious peace.



In the Shadow


My mind tries to carry me
down another path,

but I keep being yanked
down the one to write a poem

in which you are its main character.
Whenever I see your eyes

I see all your life has stood for—
as the son of one of the greatest

literary figures, as another one yourself
and a man who has endured his own

waterloo on the knee of giants
and the doorstep of angels.

Your glance begs for the caress of life
which only brings peace and carefree

living, and me I wish I had a wand to make
it happen, but you know the past

cannot be erased, but humans have the knack
to wrap elastic around it

in every direction and seal it into a box.
Even though you might for one blind moment

do this—I know that if that box was hidden from you,
that you would spend the rest of your days

on earth looking for it, and the life you
were asked to leave behind, because I know what

it’s like to live in the past
but you should not fret about this desire,

you should rejoice in the passion to tell
the stories only you can tell.

I am left speechless by the words you
jigsaw together on those pages, and the wonder

with which you appreciate those of your peers or mentees.
I don’t think I will ever be able to say thank you

the way I’d like, because the language
carries no words, besides, I’d rather struggle
with the vowels and consonants
which I know.

A long time ago, I decided
that there were no accidents—

just serendipitous encounters
with those meant to be aligned with us.

Somehow the good fortune or the way the stars
were aligned on the day we met, makes me believe

that our sensibilities are only separated by
many hours and stop watches of time.

Midnight reverie is what I live for
and midnight reverie is what will take me.




Our night together crawled
at a sloth’s pace, but then raced

like your heart at the end, as I
scrutinized each of your

moves, even your stroll
to the bathroom.

While lying on that foreign bed,
I loved the way your psyche

engulfed mine like a Venus
fly trap caresses an insect,

and the way you mapped
my features with your fingers

and how your eyes melted
into mine and how your 

arms reached out for me
pulling me into your chest,
to share your last labored breath.

Your irregular breathing
lullabied me towards that final moment,

when I realized I shouldn’t be there
with you and decided to leave—
toting your life’s baggage in my hand.

The Truth Is
            (To parents who forgot a 50th birthday)


You never cared
for the first fifty years
of a life you tried to avoid

all those times
of trials and tribulations
ins and outs and ups and downs

of fractured bones
and failed medical exams,
masked by marriages and divorces.

And now that she celebrates
this birthday of more than seven fortnights
you are nowhere to be found

as she blows out lifeless candles
on the sweet cakes you never prepared for her
as she taught herself

to climb her own mountains
the one your forbid of her
in the years when you could.



Water Fire and Earth


Water fire earth and wind
the four elements

pulsing to nature’s heartbeat
to the rhythm only understood

by the musician on the corner
who pays a penny to pouncing

passerbys with saddened eyes
left behind years ago

by a mother who already knew
his destiny was not hers

and the streets would
become his home

neighbors nudged by reality
when flames rushed

through the town which
once knew peace but

now limps from freedom
in the name of land division.




Diana Raab, PhD is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, essayist and speaker.  Her book, "Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life" is forthcoming in 2017.  Raab is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), and PsychAlive. More at dianaraab.com.