Poem: Cenos

I will name this thing we are not made for
This thing that has happened to some,
that we never expected,
that we blame ourselves for,
more that we should.

We sit next to you on the bus, talk to you at work or in line
You might never know, we cloak it well

Unless you catch us
Pulled over past impromptu roadside flowers,
blown away
After radio news of yet another soldier gone,
In the hospital on deaths, anniversaries,
hollowed out
Avoiding baby showers and pregnant women.


We are not made for our children to die

I will name this thing we are not made for
This thing that has happened to some

Our cousins the widow and widower have their special names
and we understand who they are, what it must be like

We are Cenos, with empty arms
Our ache is unspeakable, perpetual

With a name we can begin to fill the space
that occupies the ache
Seal the heart, soothe the mind
that robs us all the time

We are Cenos faultless
It is this thing that has happened to us
that we did not expect
that we do not deserve

We are not made for our children to die

We are Cenos, who struggle to atone, survive, arrive.
At some point, to understand what we may never,


Rebecca Hopwood
September 2005

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  • I don’t know why. I ask myself that every day. I wish I knew. Hugs! Lana

  • Kim P - Joseph's mom says:

    Rebecca – Thank you for sharing this poem that captures exactly how it feels to survive this unexpected, unfathomable loss that is reality….

  • Cindy-Dylan's Mama says:

    Rebecca-Oh so true! Only those who have been unfortunate to experience understand. Perpetual is a good word. Peace be with you….and thanks for sharing. I will keep this poem forever….

  • Ronnie-Shaina's mom says:

    Thank you for your beautiful,terrible poem. I am so sorry for your pain…I share it.