Memento Mori by Farzana Marie

May 30, 2013 | By | 4 Replies More

Live now.

Lest you die.

Throw off the covers,

feel the icy air shock

your trembling rejoicing form.

I said feel.


Peel back the layers of

homemade lace, painstakingly stitched

to your skin

by those who thought surely

you loved lace and would never

want to remove it and would never

play in the mud.

But it has rubbed you raw.




Scratch away the gilded paint

of your elegant fortress– and yes,

you helped select those shades–

did you really think the

steel bars across those windows

were quaint, decorative?


They will look at you aghast.

Scream louder!


You are coming to your senses.


Wade through the nesting scents,

the calming settle-down scents

of Yankee candles and gourmet hand soap,


the soulful scent of pine

pining for the forest, temporarily alive,

adorned with lights and ornaments,

the crowning decoration for the model home.

But oh, the forest!

If you stay long enough you may be admired

but you will doubtless be

a fire hazard.



the table is bursting with a picture-perfect banquet

(and didn’t you help prepare it?)

Go on, bite into that pear, wait

for its crisp juices to flair up in a riot of taste.

Are you just now noticing

the flawlessly painted plastic skin?

Fine, try to chew.

But swallowing will hurt.

A lot.



Sunlight pounds at your first-waking eyes,

crushes the darkness of

pupils so long dilated,

so long straining to see

through a glass darkly


If you leave the cave behind, beware.

They will not understand.


You will hear their lulling voices,

We need you. They need you. Stay!

You are making a mistake.

Don’t throw it all away.

What could be more real?


As you move further they may

deride you, guilt you, spin you into

beautiful webs to keep you…

formidable tangles

with apparent substance,

but they are a thin film.

The barriers will dissolve

when it is time.


Light beckons!



come to your senses.


Farzana Marie is a poet and PhD student at the University of Arizona.  She is author of the book, Hearts for Sale! A Buyer’s Guide to Winning in Afghanistan and president of Civil Vision International. Visit her website and her blog, and follow her on Twitter, @farzanamarieFacebook, and Youtube.

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Category: Poetry, Spring, When Women Waken Literary Journal

Comments (4)

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  1. This poem made my heart beat faster and faster, and by the end, I was laughing. Rejoice, I say, Rejoice!

  2. This poem completely drew me in and didn’t let me go until the end. Your images are so powerful. I loved the bit about the lace – I could almost feel it.

  3. Holly Mayes says:

    Wonderful imagery here in this poem. We all truly need to feel more often, and live in the present. I enjoyed this poem, thanks for sharing.

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