Famine de l'âme The soul, deprived of one essential thing, Cannot rely on dusty stores of hope; Seeking to mitigate starvation's sting, Finds worthless every erstwhile way to cope: Profound malaise, la grande douleur exquise, Mere denegation cannot obviate; Frantic pursuit of new activities The pang of loss will not attenuate, Though energy and passion thus employed May lead it on from goal to lofty goal By focusing on all except the void--- The emptiness it dare not face---that soul, Though outwardly it flourish more and more, Has but a gnawing vacuum at its core. Final Farewell So tender is the hand that gently takes My stricken face into its cautious grasp; Tender the ears that hear the wretched gasp Of pain made audible as my heart breaks; The voice so hesitant, the fumbling lips That form each whispered word, so bittersweet; The eyes that force themselves my gaze to meet Are soft and warm, while clumsy fingertips Smooth back my hair, salt-sticky with the tears That freely flow from ruptured depths within; Tender your farewell touch upon my skin--- It crushes me, yet somehow still endears… Such tenderness as this defies belief--- That can at once destroy---and bring relief. Originally published in The Lyric Anna J. Arredondo grew up in Pennsylvania, where she fell in love with poetry from a young age. After living in Mexico for six years, during which time she met and married her husband, she returned to Pennsylvania for one more decade. An engineer by education, home educator by choice, and poet by preference, she relocated in 2017 and currently resides in Westminster, CO with her husband and three school-age children. Anna has recently had poems published in The Lyric and Time of Singing.