Four Directions

Sunset on Lake Erie (photo my own)

The trick is to find comfort
even in the face of rage,
to cling to compassion,
until it becomes second nature
unfolding like a map
in all four directions
each one, a kingdom,
where I might find solace

To the west, love,
smelling like home,
bereft of judgement,
folding me into the crease of worn paper
its key located below my feet

To the north, hope
a horizon of rainbows
a place where pain
won’t darken the bright sky

To the east, acceptance
helps lift my heavy heart
makes my breath steady 
until everything is finally okay

To the south, the endless sea
where the waves rise up, embracing me
where I sink and sink and sink,
letting the world’s noise fade
until all that remains
is that same bright horizon
lighting the way for someone else
by now, I’m okay with darkness


Jacqueline Dooley is a writer and entrepreneur living in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley. Her essays on parenting a child with cancer and parental grief have been published in The Washington Post, HuffPost, Longreads, Modern Loss, Pulse, Mothers Always Write, PulseVoices, The Wisdom Daily and more. Find her on Twitter at jackie510.