Don’t Ask Why
Several weeks ago, a question was posed on T.S. Poetry’s Instagram: How did you heal?
The question was one I appreciated. The question assumes loss, illness, even trauma—assumes healing from something. The question leaves out the option of denial. To entertain the question, to answer, admits as much. And yet?
The question is a hopeful one. It does not presuppose a place of completion. Even healing leaves residuals. The occasional deep cough, the aches and pains when the weather changes, the scar, the memory. But it does, also, presuppose healing. Even if we remain in some way in process, we also have healed in some way.
It is good to talk about the healing, not to deny the losses, the traumas, the wounds: but to talk about the healing. To talk about the hope.
Michelle Ortega’s chapbook, Don’t Ask Why, is a collection of prose poems that begins to answer this question: How did you heal?
Some of the poems come from these difficult places, ones that give rise to a need for healing. The losses, the trauma that underline events at their heart unfold in the beauty of family, of beloved places like Paris and New York. One comes face to face with these events, even their ghosts, but one does not come away from the collection haunted by them as much as moving through them into beauty. “Let the Questions Go Unanswered,” set in Elizabeth Street Garden, SoHo, NYC, ends with this arresting image:
Old bookstore scents blend with turning leaves and overripe butterfly
bushes. A Grecian woman rises amid the SoHo backdrop. Delicate
concrete, one bare breast—her dress pressed by a breeze.
In October, we invite you to join us for a book club discussion of Michelle Ortega’s collection with our Patron community. We will talk about the poems and themes of the collection, as well as share excerpts from an interview with Michelle.
Don’t Ask Why is a limited-edition chapbook. To obtain one of the last three print copies (or a pdf version once copies are gone), please email Michelle about payment and shipping options at michellebelleparis AT gmail DOT com.
We’ll be reading on the schedule below:
Week 1: October 20
Week 2: October 27
Week 3: November 3
Featured photo by Jeanne Menjoulet, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post photo by L.L. Barkat. Post by Will Willingham.