Garden Party

Written by Susan Noyes Anderson on . Posted in General-Literary Poems

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©2018 Susan Noyes Anderson
(adaptation, Road Kill ©1990)

His cat was dead.

Ours was a garden party,
ranunculus in every color
no relief for
fur-brushed blood
against a bleached
white t-shirt.

We looked at him,
unable to integrate
our pleasure
and his pain,
murmuring self-conscious
as he pulled back
through the gate.

A hum of nervous chatter
and the incident was over,
squirreled away
like fetid grease
in covered jars
beneath the kitchen sink.

I couldn’t find a lid,
crashed his pain
the way he crashed
our party,
freshly-laundered hope
stained dread
as any white t-shirt,
ranunculus notwithstanding.


“I must reach an accord with pain, suffering, and anguish, or forevermore be tortured by reality.” 
–Kilroy J. Oldster

“The mind replays what the heart can’t delete.” –Anonymous PTSD sufferer

“It isn’t in my past; it’s in my everyday.” –Helen Wilson

“It is often said that a traumatic experience in life marks a person forever.” – Jeffrey Eugenides

“Traumatic events, by definition, overwhelm our ability to cope. When the mind becomes flooded with emotion, a circuit breaker is thrown that allows us to survive the experience fairly intact. The cost of this blown circuit is emotion, frozen within the body. In other words, we often unconcsiously stop feeling our trauma partway into it, like a movie that is still going after the sound has been turned off. We cannot heal until we move fully through that trauma, including all the feelings of the event.” 
–Susan Pease Banitt


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