Chestnuts now litter the ground
Spaced apart in elegant brown
Curved and shiny shells unbroken
Like the last words that between us
Were spoken – dry
Dehydrate slowly as winter nears
This time without you

Where you lie garnished
With wilting roses and – to my surprise
The lilac bush we gave you sweetly,
Long ago thought dead, now tries
To bloom again

The yellow leaves fall always from the sky
Continuous in motion while you lie
In elegant, dry stillness fade
Leach out of life like chlorophyll from leaves
Impervious perhaps, or simply far
From here, your oldest daughter
While she grieves

Written September 2016, Emma Dumitra.




It’s not like in the movies

Composed of questions, quests

Dramatic bald heads nodding, bobbing, suffering

Projectile vomit and finite deadlines.

It’s quieter, wispier, more uncertain

Like those dirty flakes we once called hair

You finally shaved off slightly.

It’s sore palms and painfully cracked skin

It’s gaining weight when the steroids do you in

It’s quality of life, and it’s chemo

When venom in your veins is better

Than your own cells.

It’s watching you melt like a candle

As the poison slowly fills you intravenously

Feeling the dread and the gorge rising

When I exit like a coward because that’s not really you

It can’t be.

It’s jokes about stool and all the colors and consistencies

We could apply to oil pastels,

But this is not art

And on good days it feels like we’re faking it all

And bad days are hell, but we smile.

When I hear you cough my mind jumps to your funeral

And health class reminds me of the day you will die.

Thera-putrid are those days when your door is closed

And you sleep the hours away, and it’s almost escape

And I’m grateful for how much you hide from me

But even forgetting makes me ache.

Written September 2015, Emma Dumitra.
Photo Credit: Nana Dumitra.



I will not rest in my own strength –
I cannot, for it would break me.
Too frail am I to trust myself –
A faith misplaced it would be.

If my own sword won’t win the land,
God, shall I even lift it?
If providence is from Your hand,
then how may I participate?

How sweet is the light of Your face –
Your love how strange to see
that inside each love I’ve ever craved
it was Yours that called to me.

It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
~ Psalm 44:3

Written December 2014, Emma Dumitra.
Image from parentmap.com

“Many Waters”


On the edge of my universe,
the rim of the glass,
still wet where you drank
of my dreams.

Come out where there are
oceans and many waters
that flow, alive
and waiting
to swallow your tears,
make them beautiful.

I’ll be one of many,
forgotten by my own
in the thrown waters,
sloshing through the earth’s
many veins.

And will I rise with the mists? –
the torn shreds of cotton fog that hold
the secrets of the world? –
that hide the trees and wake the sun,
then fade?

Come out – but I’m still inside the glass,
and I’ll trace the road with
rubbed fingers, bleeding water
because I was made to be here for
just a while longer,
to drain the glass
before I brave the many seas.

Written August 2013, Emma Dumitra.
Image from http://www.imgkid.com.

“Twelve Lakes” – 2014 in Review

Here twelve lakes lie side by side
all shapes – deep and narrow, flat
and wide.
Clear reflections broken by
cauliflower clouds, heavy with
my hopes and rain.
Where shall I rest them, where
descend? I raise
my hands to end the cruel hell
of sun-fire blazing, as if hope
were cheap and bright.
These feathers, wisps, my substance,
all conceal the candid strokes;
now I descend.
The petals of this darkness now unfold
as I, the passenger inside my soul,
discover me. We visit
– all my selves and I –
last January’s lake, its surface wild.
So alien a place and time it seems,
its facets, crests, I last glimpsed
in my dreams.
Lake February dry and barely here;
Lake March abloom and bursting lovely,
clear – as if,
as if eternity its depths; its foreigner
my fear. And then
a river-flood for April and for May,
a frothy loud crescendo hailing change:
Over June’s lake there’s a storm,
July is windy; August bright,
its waters deep in blues, but dear, familiar.
(And to think that then I thought
I knew the weight of depth.)
There’s Lake September now; it’s green and good,
but ripples into shards as I approach – and is
a lake of searing fire! That mirage
dissolved. The smoke and sulfur choke
and laugh: I dared believe that there was life
upon my path!
Then, Lake October, drowned in ice, and Lake November
sheathed in fog – I don’t remember
what I felt; I only think that I was there.
Now Lake December, dark and still; perhaps
a mere trick of the light. I thought
I glimpsed something – I’m still
unsure if it was life, if it
was truly seen by sight.
And now – at last – a rainfall, bleeding
healer’s tears. A brief relief,
my segue, to capture what was lost;
a pause, a breath, a thought, a song,
and then, the fiercest feat of all –
to go on.

Written December 2014, Emma Dumitra.
Image from northwestontariomaps.ca. 




Where shall I look for reassurance of your love?
Every cloud in the sky is of your design;
the moon and stars flew hither on your breath,
the sun a molecule of fire from your throne –
yet none of them bear a fingerprint.
Not one of them is marked by bumps and grooves
and curls of tender caress.
The sun and the angels both are pure light;
the heavenly beings and bodies all glow,
but none of them are of dust and of air,
none of them are of earthy, gritty stuff –
of breath, blood and sweat – You care
for us, the dusty, weather-worn and small,
not glorious, but placed in rank near all
the wonders, angels, gods of life and light;
You’ve crowned us with your glory in your sight.


I will not promise you an easy life,
I will not shield you from all pain,
but woe to those who delight
in your suffering.
Their gleaming joy I will swiftly trample;
with a mighty roar I will storm their boasts.
My face is ever turned toward you –
tear for tear, I match your weeping.
I will be angry, fiercely angry
at the joy of your oppressors,
for how dare they pierce your heart
and laugh with glee!
Though I have yet allowed your trials
it is crucifixion to me;
you are my loved one, loved so dearly,
and I promise: you will be free.

The Inspiration:
Psalm 7:6-8 – “Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high; let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.”
Psalm 8:3-5 – “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place; what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Written Oct. 2014, Emma Dumitra.
Photo credit: Nicole Rook. 

“The Second-Most Beautiful Things in Life”


I played a song today
on an instrument I didn’t know how to
and everything –
the music sheets and piano keys,
the floorboards
and the humming fridge –
gave ear and listened
to me.

It was so quiet
in that space – that sound
was silence as I played,
and the music sheets
were street signs – not canes.

It was there that I decided
that the most beautiful things in life
cannot be made
by words;
cannot be remade or caught
by a thousand eager
novelists and poets chasing
them with eager pens,
though they try.

And so it is that I
can only write
about the second-most beautiful
things in life,
for the very act of writing
or remembering
denotes the song,
dethrones the king,
turns the most into
the second-most thing.

Truly, a writer
advertises life,
so leave this dusty page
and live
with the scribbled sheets
your street signs – not canes.

Walk with abandon
the roads you do not know how to
and everything –
the doubts and questions,
these things you must yet learn
are beautiful things,
and the very floorboards –
will give ear and listen
to that funny tune we know
as life:
the most beautiful thing.

Written August 2013, Emma Dumitra.
Image from kichiwall.com.