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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

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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Stages of Grief

 

We sat in the round

and rubbed our stories

like prayer beads that

we’ve kept,

 

but one man let

the world erode him—

so naked, so sacred

he wept.

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Two Reconciliations

I tugged on the thread
of grief not knowing how
completely it had tangled
with all the other threads,
how without it
there was no cloth.

*

Here, darling,
I cannot say
the words for you,
but I will listen
for the unspeakable
whether you say
the words
or not.

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Unimaginable

The locked gate, opened.
The ex-girlfriend in the closet.
The indifferent swimming pool.
I scour news reports
from CBS, The Denver Post, the Vallarta Opina,
looking for a different story,
a different detail,
a different end.
They say the same.
The boy’s body lifeless
in the pool.
There is more.
It does not help
to see the man’s picture.
His bruised cheek, his black eye,
his gaze averted.
I imagine how he, too,
was a boy.
How he, too,
must have had dreams.
How he, too,
must have smelled
the sea in the air.
All day I think
of the mothers.
All day I think
of the sons.

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