About the Poems
by Janaka Stucky
As an undertaker, my work with the dead illustrated to me the similarities of loss due to mortality and the feelings of loss due to irreversible heartbreak. Consequently I often play out scenarios orbiting around separation in my poems that blur the lines of death & romance. With suffering comes a heightened awareness of beauty; in our despair we grasp for that which we believe contains our salvation—whether it’s the moments we’ve lost to time or the moments we will never actually have. Ultimately I try to step out of that grief to distinguish poetry from sentimentality by understanding that this beauty we grope for is also terrifying, and threatens to destroy us just the same.
Most of these poems are from a series of ten poems, titled after songs that my friend’s children (ages 5 & 7) made up on New Year’s Eve. The poems tell a story of two people who could be lovers or siblings—separated by death, emotion or even just practical circumstances. “You Will Know Her Disappearance” is from a series of poems on knives that also explores the essence of division through an extended metaphor of blades.