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“To Lose” by Veronica Nation

Capsule Stories Spring 2022 Edition laying on the pavement

The charge of daylight brings morning.
From the unmoving dust, I see time,
which has passed and settled and set
quietly on my shelves. My books are well-
read and yellowed, the color of leaves
fallen in the backyard, left to rest.

I feel the weight of unrest
heavy in my body. I am mourning
the brightness of my brother’s eyes. It relieves
some sort of constricted breath, and time
moves slowly in this action. I am unwell,
I think. I am unable to breathe and reset.

I see everything in black and white. The upset
of death lingers. I think, what was the rest
of his life going to be? I let myself dwell
on images in my head of my brother in the morning,
eating chicken wings for breakfast, not a care of time
or deadlines. Greasy fingers, watching the leaves.

Every poem I write reminds me that he leaves.
Each memory of him dissipates. I do not set
realistic expectations of myself with time—
that is to say, I do not let myself rest
after experiencing loss. I wake up in the morning
and go to work as if all has been well.

The day after my brother died, I said a farewell
not to him or to his body, but to the long-sleeve
navy sweater I bought him for winter. I am not mourning
clothing, but rather the fact that he will never set
foot again in his room of rest.
I think of what he could have been all the time.

And the dust of my shelves, the reminder of time
is not so easy to forgive. I have done well
to stay still yet ambitious, to rest
but to prosper. I wonder what this leaves
me: an understanding of death, of the asset
that is life, or the thanks for the morning?

I do thank the morning for its sun. I thank time for its passing.
I weave love so well into my life. I set up my bookshelves with
color-coded intention. Hide leaves in the pages of my journal. I rest.

Veronica Nation is a Colorado poet and artist whose work can be seen in Levitate Magazine300 Days of Sun, Sink Hollow, and others. When she is not writing, Veronica enjoys drinking iced coffee, meditating, and reading an assortment of books. You can follow her on Instagram at @rainandpoetry and on her website at

Read “To Lose” by Veronica Nation in Capsule Stories Spring 2022 Edition: Into the Light

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