(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

she sat there
9,000 miles away
on the edge of her bed
or the ledge of her building
I never knew which
and talked about anchors
and the black depths
of depression
and what it would feel like
to fly

“You’re my only reason
for being,”
she said
and was she laughing
or crying?
it’s hard to tell while
(damn my deaf ears)
“You’re the only anchor
I have left,”
she said
and there was a long


and I thought I heard the
wind whipping past
my ears
and felt my heart
in my throat

“I’ll always love you,” she said
smiley face / crying face

my fingers wouldn’t work
my keyboard was mute
my mind as blank
as the empty miles
between us

“I had the dream again,” she said
I squeezed my eyes shut
while she typed
I didn’t want to read it again
but I was helpless against
the machinations of my own heart
and she pried them open
from across the sea

we walked hand-in-hand
in a flower-burst
mountain meadow
the colors like something
out of a kaleidoscopic acid trip
the sky the hue of ancient oceans
the capricious breeze
flirting with her obsidian hair
her caramel eyes closed
her face
turned up to the sun
and we passed
through columbines
lupine fire-weed
monkshood sun flowers
while conifers and aspens
susurrated, whispering secretively
in the language of the trees
amid strange atonal birdsong

then the wind arose
and her feet left the ground

panic smudged the smile
from her face
and she looked at me
as she floated up
toward the howling sky
as though she were
being drawn by some
anomalous gravity
and she cried out in terror
her eyes bulging
her hand crushing mine
in a death-vise
and she screamed
“Don’t let me go!”
over and over
as she was wrenched
from my grip
and sucked up
into the sun

I turned my head
her text a saline blur
my heart pounding
ears ringing

and a string of
crying face emojis
snaked across my screen

a few moments passed

“I’ll always love you…”
she repeated
and ended the chat

and I felt the dead weight
of a severed anchor
crush my heart

41 thoughts on ““Anchor”

    1. I second Ken – this is probably one of the most intense and riveting poems I’ve read in quite a while…

      Also, these lines:

      through columbines
      lupine fire-weed
      monkshood sun flowers
      while conifers and aspens
      susurrated, whispering secretively
      in the language of the trees
      amid strange atonal birdsong

      were clearly written by someone intimately familiar with nature!


      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks, David. This one came out all at once, then I had to let it sit for a couple of days while I went over it a few times. It’s a deeply meaningful piece for me, based on some things that happened a few years ago for which there’s still no closure, so yeah, painful and intense stuff. Thanks for such a nice remark regarding the dream passage and the descriptions of the flowers and trees. If you’ve ever visited the Rockies during the summer, you’d see that my descriptions are pretty accurate here. They’re beyond beautiful, those flower-burst mountain meadows. I hope you can see them for yourself someday. I appreciate your support as always, good sir! Means a lot to me. 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

    2. Thanks, Ken. It’s an intense piece, and the inspiration for it is painful, but I find letting it out is beneficial and helps me deal with things. Thanks for the kind words–I appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree. Most of my writing is birthed in painful memories (and I imagine frequent readers will report I sound like a broken record at times!), but like you said, it’s therapeutic, and, at least in my case, has proven to be cathartic. I don’t have many happy, upbeat pieces, but that’s okay. I have to write for myself first and foremost or I’d feel like a hack, you know? So, that means writing my deepest feelings in the most authentic way possible (well, except for my monkey poems–I go bananas on those 😀 ). Anyway, the metaphor of lancing a wound to drain the poison always comes to mind, and that’s what it’s like for me. Hopefully, the day will come when all the poison has been bled out and I can move on to a new mindset when it comes to poetry. My nature photography balances out my poetry in that it’s quiet and still and peaceful and contemplative. My poetry describes my life; my photography sought to impose order on it. Yin/yang? Sort of, I suppose. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, that all makes sense Mike. My poetry reflects where I’m at and how I see the world while my running gets me out of my head and onto to the road. It’s all about balance like you stated. 😁👍 I wouldn’t worry about your material being upbeat or not upbeat. It’s all about reflecting where you’re at! Lancing a wound is a great analogy! 🤔😁👍 A lot of my stuff has been painful; full of heartbreak and grief. My kids have brought out some of the more positive and upbeat poems out of me. 😁

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you kindly, Saima. Memories of a past relationship have been the genesis for much of my poetry, and it’s all painful even to this day. I write about these feelings and memories to try to make sense of them, and they tend to be very raw and powerful things. I don’t know how to write any other way. That lack of closure, that not knowing…it haunts me. So I write. And it helps a little. Thank you for such a nice comment. I truly appreciate it, Saima. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 🙂 i can understand and sense the pain in your poetry, dear Mike.. In life we don’t understand many happenings, especially the kind you mentioned.. but at times, some painful experiences break us to emerge more beautifully and let us connect to something more beautiful and worthwhile.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. This is heartbreaking and beautiful, Mike. I could feel the terrible helplessness as if I was there, staring at the phone, waiting, holding my breath and terrified. I agree with the other commenters, that this is one of the more intensely moving pieces of poetry I’ve read in a long time. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow Mike this was so riveting and I loved the story so beautifully spun in this make believe real story shared so brilliantly . Honest and raw with pearl nuggets.
    Can I please take that anchor off your heart though because I can’t bare to hear you crushed. I have and anchor I can replace it with…. Anchor In. It’s the name I gave our lake house since it is a wonderful reprieve. How does that sound?
    Truly a 10 poem! 💖👏👏👏

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Cindy. Your lake house sounds lovely, and what a wonderful name for it, too. My own anchor is pretty much embedded in my heart but I’m working on it. I have someone I talk to a couple of times each month, and I write about it when the need arises. I’ll never have closure on this, but that’s just how life works, I suppose. Thanks for your kind and constant support and encouragement. I truly appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I love the anchor in your heart and glad you have someone to talk to and keep you anchored as well. It’s hard to accept what is without closure but sometimes that’s half the battle. It’s always my pleasure to visit you mindfully, honestly and reflectively. You’re welcome and Thank you! 💕🙏💕

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Jeff. Sometimes life throws the entire gamut of emotions at us so quickly we don’t even have time to react. We end up feeling like the wind has been knocked out of us and we freeze. Love can be excruciatingly painful, and loss of any kind catastrophic. Thanks for your kind words, my friend. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so tragic and beautiful. The piercing reality and the comfort of what ifs. The way you set the scene and then take the reader on a heart-wrenching journey. The ending is like sitting down hard after receiving bad news. Well written and so emotional. It must come from a deep place, Mike. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Terveen. Yes, this one comes from a pretty deep place. Some things never seem to end, as though they’re caught in a perpetual trauma loop. We are the aggregate of the experiences that happen to us, and I think this is why some people are fundamentally melancholy and sad. To be stuck in the past, wondering about the fate of someone and knowing that fate will never be revealed…well, it damages us. And we carry those scars with us as we attempt to move forward. Your kind words are always so appreciated. I can’t thank you enough.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fililpa. It’s a theme I revisit now and then as I try to work through some past memories. Sometimes it feels as though I’m not sure if I’m clinging to the past or if the past is clinging to me. A lack of closure is really confusing, and not knowing is hard to bear.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for taking time to read my poetry. It really means a lot to me to know my words connect with someone. Many, many thanks, Saima. I’m truly grateful for your presence here on WordPress. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re so kind, Aaysid. I truly appreciate you and your wonderful comments and support. It makes writing these painful pieces worth it. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my poetry. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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