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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

 

 

 

On Earth, just a teaspoon of neutron star

would weigh six billion tons. Six billion tons.

The equivalent weight of how much railway

it would take to get a third of the way to the sun.

It’s the collective weight of every animal

on earth. Times three.

 

Six billion tons sounds impossible

until I consider how it is to swallow grief—

just a teaspoon and one might as well have consumed

a neutron star. How dense it is,

how it carries inside it the memory of collapse.

How difficult it is to move then.

How impossible to believe that anything

could lift that weight.

 

There are many reasons to treat each other

with great tenderness. One is

the sheer miracle that we are here together

on a planet surrounded by dying stars.

One is that we cannot see what

anyone else has swallowed.

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It wasn’t until I had passed through security

and found my way into Concourse B

that I found myself sinking into a chair

across from a giant Vienna Beef poster

and began to weep. And once they began,

the tears wouldn’t stop. Nor did I try

to stop them. I had wondered in the ICU

where they were. Had wondered

again at my parents’ home. It was strange

to be so level—not cold, really, and not numb,

but oddly steeled. It was a relief, really,

to sob into my hands. To let grief take over.

To be a maidservant to fragility.

What a gift to be sideswiped with the truth

of our vulnerability. What a blessing

to be baptized in my own helplessness.

Over the loudspeaker, they announced

that a plane was delayed. As if any of us

really know when we’ll depart, when we’ll arrive.

When the tears dried, I stood. Walked

to my gate recalibrated. Called my parents

again because I could. Because I could.

In the window, I smiled at my watery reflection,

how it almost wasn’t there at all.

 

 

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grief and celebration

share the same bed—

one keeps stealing the blanket

the other

keeps knitting a beautiful new one

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One Great Loss

—for Jack

 

 

such terrible silence

when the dog isn’t whining at the door—

the space on the dog bed empty

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Wild and Precious

 

—for Mary Oliver, January 17, 2019

 

 

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

—Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

 

 

And when she said, “you don’t have to be good,”

my whole body became wild goose

as the truth of her lines winged through.

 

And when she asked, “what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

I walked outside and heard the low river.

 

And when she suggested we live

as “a bride married to amazement,”

I made my vows to life.

 

On the day that she died, the winter

was too warm for snow, and the rain

gave luster to every sullen thing.

 

In me, a storm threatened to rise,

but the only words that would find my lips

were thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

 

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when I was young and read Lord of the Flies,

and when I read the part where Piggy dies,

I screamed out loud, You got it wrong. No!

As if Golding could hear me through the spine.

Perhaps because I also was a geek.

Perhaps because I didn’t want to know

how cruel the world can be. How kids like me

could choose, in fearful times, to kill our friends.

 

My son detests the book, but not because

the boys are cruel, because it moves too slow.

I try to reconcile his callousness, his good

and tender heart. He’s grown up in an age

where killing is a part of weekly life.

How strange for me to grieve the loss of grief.

 

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There was a time when I’d pull his hair out

if he sat too close to me on the couch.

Now, I curl into his right side,

lean my head on his shoulder,

feel the trembling of his chest

as he weeps. How good it feels

to be close to him as we grieve.

How familiar, the shape of his head,

the heft of his hand as he reaches for mine.

How deeply right, this leaning

into sorrow together.

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We stand in the field.

I swallow any words

that might try to fix things.

Some things cannot be fixed.

Instead, we say the words

that make us weep.

Grief stands with us then,

and holds us

with absolute tenderness,

its arms impossibly kind.

It starts to rain.

We do not move to leave.

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Before the sadness comes the shock,

like snow falling on sunflowers,

like nightfall at noon. And then

the tears catch up. And then

the wondering, What could I have done?

The urge to hold her now that I cannot.

The ache to hold her daughter, to hold

her son the way that she once held

my children when they were young.

What is there to do now but cradle

each other, to cry, to recover, and again

to shudder, to cry. To say to each other

that this day it hurts to be alive.

To notice that despite grief,

the larkspur are in full blue.

The river curls notes around the rocks.

The bees immerse their bodies

in snapdragon blooms.

How it’s never been more important

to know this—that the world

is beautiful. That even as we’re held

by tragedy, here is tenderness.

Here, always waiting to be opened,

the invitation to love.

 

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One Eventual

 

 

 

walking the dark alley of grief

afraid of what I might find—

myself

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