Libby Sommer: ‘Words’ and ‘What Happened to the Sun’


Belly expansions and contractions,
turning our attention to sensations,
we remember the three things you said:
breathe light, breathe slow, breathe deep.

We take control. Above us
the air conditioner hums.
At your own pace,
no need to rush.
Next door a conference
of 43 dentists learn
sensation management.
I swallow the urge to laugh.

A full exhale,
let it all go.
Your words give comfort
as they enter the gaps
between in and out,
slowing down.
Everything will
be just fine.

Afterwards, the morning looks different.
Good work everyone.
Well done.
We roll up our mats,
head for our cars—
safe from the pain,
for now.

Libby Sommer


What Happened to the Sun

We took that hot ball of glowing gases
at the heart of our solar system for granted,
so much intense energy and heat
bearing down on green city spaces
when she went out to walk the dog,
winter warmth brightening her face. Sometimes
under a large red gum she stopped
to watch a mother and son
play cricket or an elderly tennis player
limp towards the courts, “No running
today, eh?” calls out his opponent. “I’ll keep
the ball on your forehand.”
Difficult to stay upbeat sometimes
when you see so much change. You
wish for things to be how they were before,
nourished by moon on water,
first stars, mountains, ocean,
a dog pulling on a lead under a bright sky,
beneath a cache of clouds,
wanting the time before,
before polar bears were in danger,
when, ignorantly, you basted your skin
in coconut oil on the hot sand,
before we were all bound by rules,
distanced in unusual ways
burning in the sun side by side
on a crowded beach.

Libby Sommer

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