Vox Populi

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Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: There Will Be Times

There will be times when the barrel of the love

you have for each other will grow empty.

And your once sweet lover

seems bare

as trees are in the deep dark of winter


The timbers, once red and hot, now dry

ashes, and dust, charcoal, and the one

you once loved

is as distant as you.

Remember how she no longer jumps

when you come in?

That stare, opaque, the dull evening,

darker, and you wonder

where she went, even though

she is right there at that same

old sink, her weathering hands, dry

not of water, but of love and hope

and care.

How your arrival is now nothing to her?

And your leaving is nothing to her?

This is the time

to wake up.

Love does not carry around

its own hands or heart or shovel

to drive out ice that has come between you.

Love was not meant to fight

for attention.

We are the ones who fight

to keep it alive.

Get up, and buckle your pants, buddy,

and look for that girl you knew

when her hair was long, and her eyes,

deep, deep dark brown, and her

smile lit up the heartless heart

that was you.

Push away the dust of distractions

you think will be lasting.

Push away women who stare at you

with empty hearts.

They will be a waste of time.

Sex nights, blankets that chill you

at dawn.

Love is not about sex, not about

free sex, not about the things that

weather and burn and turn to dust.

This is not about wild nights,

not about lust.

Love does not die like a dead tree

even though in the fall, it seems to wane.

Remember that old love,

that first time you met, and go after

the bride of your youth.

She is still there, inside the wrinkles,

inside the greying of her hair,

inside the years of enduring hope,

inside you, behind the smile

that once was.

Find her.

Copyright 2022 Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley is a survivor of the Liberian Civil War who now lives in Pennsylvania. Her many books include Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House, 2020).

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

10 comments on “Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: There Will Be Times

  1. cgainey
    December 9, 2021

    The great PJW just gets better and better, truer and truer! We are so lucky to have her in PA––she’s an international treasure!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Huntington
    December 9, 2021

    And be grateful you both still exist in this plane—there are so many who only have the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kim4true
    December 9, 2021

    Lovely reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rose Mary Boehm
    December 9, 2021

    Gorgeous. So true. Thank you for the reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Faye Snider
    December 9, 2021

    This poem captures the challenges of the aging heart. The poem’s rhythm and context say it true.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      December 9, 2021

      yes, I love Patricia’s poems for their unabashed honesty and lyricism, sort of a Liberian Whitman!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Sean Sexton
    December 9, 2021


    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on December 9, 2021 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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