my only brother, Joe, died the day after I wrote this, at age 78. perhaps this is why so many of my poems recently have concerned death. voyage well my brother…

siblings 7.22.19 2904




a poem arrived last night

so heavy with death I couldn’t lift it

and I couldn’t in good conscience

drop it on anybody else.

so for now, there’s just this –

an unseasonably warm spring day

robins building a nest on the porch

the constant quiet joy

of the good woman I married

nearly forty years ago. And for now


this is enough.


enough to hold me warm at night,

enough to allow me to ignore,

for a time, the pulsing sadness

that flows beneath the surface

of this happiness,

like blood beneath the skin

carrying its own form of richness

throughout this aging body,

even though I know that one day

this blood will stop, and with it must end

all of the sadness, all of the joy,

leaving only a space,

a sharp inhalation,

then a long vanishing sigh.


© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com









For my friends and family who share the periodic shadow of depression.  Not all days are created equal….



The barrage of advice

is endless. Use your brightest

colors, sharpest lines, be cheerful!

But eventually, we each must paint

with whatever colors we see, especially

on days like this, when your heart feels like a large

dead fish—cold and heavy and hard, when the air

has gone to syrup and all of space thickens

sinking down around your head like a dark

sheet drawn tight

and tighter




There are no yellows here no

gold. Today is a day for purples

and black, for indigo and blood-

red, for fat brushes marking wide sluggish

stokes over the canvas, of just trying to cover the cracks

and leave no white corners, no spaces, then signing

the work by pressing your face full-on

into the thick black paint in the

corner in the hope that you

might finally escape

this day




©Old Bones, New Snow/J.A. Fink 2014