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Primal Blue - Christen Lee

They say to keep alive the memory of the ones you’ve lost

but do they tell you the cost

of remembering while also trying to raise the dead?

And haven’t we already lost so much

while gracing our way

through this incomprehensible world?

We are born to lose


and it’s beautiful, this mysterious fate

always on the brink of the unknown.

I think of this as I sprawl upon the wide lush green

above the earthen plot we buried you

that measured space which separates the living from the not.

And it’s funny how they call sadness the blues

the most beautiful color.

And I think of poured paint

as I lose myself in this radiant blue sky

so empty

in which the light could swallow me day after day.

And I think how I would be perfectly happy this way

empty and blue and lovely

a canvas primed for the art of memory.

But first, let me write my story

etched in lines across my length of skin.

Blue is a primary color

like sadness.

Consider a baby’s first sounds

that primal cry into the great ether

that rattles a mother’s heart to love.

Tell me your memories

the ones you keep alive—

the ones that keep you alive.

What makes you blue?

What makes you terrible and primal

beautiful and alive?


Christen Lee is a family nurse practitioner in Cleveland, Ohio. Her writing has been featured in the Cleveland Humanities Festival poetry collaborative, Literary Cleveland’s Voices from the Edge Anthology, Rue Scribe, The Write Launch, and Aurora – The Allegory Ridge Poetry Anthology.


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