Martine van Bijlert’s poem, this life we built, is a snapshot of domesticity and contentment, but with an underlying tense uncertainty of the future. What happens if domestic bliss is shattered? Will we make it? Will we be alright? Can we survive on our own–with less than we have now? These are questions posed by van Biljert’s sparse and honest lines.
this life we built
the wood stacked in the basement
the countertop crowd of oils and vinegars
the rote of shopping and cooking
and uncorking good wines
our collection of friends and
how we spend time, the city we live in
and the frictionless turns of working and rest
we know that if we mess this up
we’ll be alone
who can say what is enough
even if what comes after
might be less
Martine van Biljert
Martine van Bijlert is a poet and a novelist, who also worked as an aid worker, a diplomat, a researcher and a political analyst. She spent half her life in Afghanistan and now lives in the Netherlands. She can be found at www.martinevanbijlert.com and @mvbijlert (Twitter/Instagram).