No Trace

Too scared to shape the lump
of clay that would be my life, 
lest it come out the kiln misshapen
so it remained a block. 

I received beautiful bound journals 
but I couldn’t bring myself to mar
the pristine virgin paper with words
that might be wrong. Left the paper

clean and chaste, my stories forgotten. 
I am forty now with nothing to show for it. 
When I die, movers will clear the bookshelf
of blank birthday-gift journals. 

Perhaps some white powder will fleck
off my dried out lump of clay and onto
their coveralls, which they will wash
till I leave no trace.

© 2021 Jewish Young Professional

Written for The Sunday Muse #164


  1. I used to do that exact thing with pretty journals, leaving them blank until such time as I came up with something worthy of writing in them, which of course was never… I definitely worry I’ll die with nothing to show for my life, in large part because I’m usually too scared to try at anything I actually care about.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You’re right. Man is dust and we return to dust, etc. Good for you for a) not being afraid to write down the babble and b) turning it into some awesome poetry! (I just read your “God, in youth and age” and “Duet” and they’re awesome)


  2. It’s a wonderful poem, albeit sad. There was a point when one could die, be buried and that was it. The blank pages of unused journals had no tales to tell. In today’s world we leave an electronic legacy if we want to or not. A virtual afterlife of our words, deeds and images strewn across the reaches of cyberspace. If one is lucky, disuse, a crash or obsolescence will send one’s virtual afterlife into oblivion.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Midlife can be a challenge, but the best is yet to come. Your digital journals will show what might have been on those blank page journals on your shelf. Hang in there and keep moving forward!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I read this, I was literally sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for someone, with a bag of two new notebooks I just bought at a nearby bookstore to add to my towering pile of other blank notebooks. It’s a sickness, I tell you. I have the same fear of writing in them and sullying them with my stupidity.

    Liked by 1 person

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