Creative Work: ‘On the Strength of an Eyelid’ by Mary K. Ryan

Creative WorksThis week’s piece is about the strength required in showing emotion. Mary K. Ryan questions her own need for emotional release in this beautiful poem. 

On the Strength of an Eyelid 

If tears regenerate,
Will my life repeat itself?
My comfort often comes out of their depletion.
I’ve got to be tough,
I don’t have as many tears
To waste
On insignificant men,
Frustrating days,
Defeats of competence.
But if my brain stockpiles them again,
Will I respond like a girl living in the western world?
Will I sell my saline to the highest bidder?
Will I cry uncontrollably over meaningless things, explaining there are too many drops pushing my eyelids down, I had to get them out?
Will I advertise my life as a going-out-of-business sale again?
Can a soul be forever wet
Shuddering from fear of reincarnation?
These tears
These few still in me
I let them rest
But they use my generosity against me:
Sliding around, contemplating cloning, figuring out ways to stain me with their salt.
These tears
These are dangerous weapons,
Destructive solvents,
Daring entertainment.
These tears
Act as a warning,
The only one you’ll get.
You need to learn
This girl doesn’t blow away
Like a candle’s flame on a birthday cake.

This poem leaves the reader with the impression that all the emotion we have spent in our lives hasn’t depleted us, but has helped us grow. The poem’s use of questions presents a hollowing sound that is answered by the last refrain so the reader is left no choice but to agree with the author: crying is powerful. 

Come back next week for more amazing writing!

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