Allison Seay

The Difficult Way

The difficult way is mouthful by little mouthful

soft soft loud a string

of sweet autumnal days and then a Day

of nothingness only numb gray brimming

hours upon hours etcetera etcetera

when it feels people are standing closer

to me than I am standing to them

what do they all do

the people

when they are alone with their lives


I wish I could arrange the disturbances

of my life one mouthful of things to think about

and another of things not to 

the foolish from the grave the jealousy

from the love arrange things

as though one did not have to be disturbed

if one wished not to be

to swallow the difficulty or not


When I go to the end of the road

it tastes like aloneness in my mouth

(sour thirsty thick iron someone else’s smoke)

and there is nothing in the box and I come

back inside and smooth the newel post and rest

on the last stair

and this is what it is like to wait for and not get

the letter no sign from you




"The Difficult Way" is from To See the Queen (Persea Books, 2013) and first appeared in Hampden Sydney Poetry Review.