i recently read
life keeps moving and nothing
stays the same forever-
they were words meant to comfort,
but i look at the ocean
and think it’s only forever
and that is forever,
whatever that means.
my insides fill
with the same icy, salty water
that somehow slips in steaming streams
down my cheeks.
nothing and everything is
only forever and i cannot see
as far as the sky can fly
over this freezing body-
but silly woman,
the ocean never freezes,
look at it pulse like blood in a stone,
like love in my marrow.
i cover my face with my hands,
feel the heat of your name
whispered against my cold palms.
I don’t believe you’re here,
you’re down there,
nestled like a hibernating animal
under mounds of dirt,
snug in your cavern,
fingers curled stiff in the dark.
It scares and thrills me,
at once, how we still sit together,
although our conversation
is rather one-sided these days,
so I spend most of the time
companionable, silent with you.
I don’t believe in ghosts or haunting,
although it is strange how you whispered
words long forgotten
in my ear, and how I laughed
(with you?) as the “murder” of crows
flew over my head.
Can you feel the heat of my hands
pressing down on the earth over you,
as though trying to pat you
through thin covers
of a hospital bed?
Can you hear my voice tremble
with grief and embarassment as I
tell you about my day, about
squirrels chattering in the tree
that shades you, about
your neighbor’s wind chimes, about
the bizarre parade and
all the shades of grief and loss?
What a conversation we would have had,
thee and me, about all this.
There was a poem I meant to share,
a missed chance almost too great to bear.
The breeze stirs up in the trees,
I kneel with my hands on the ground,
and even though you cannot feel or hear
me, I do it anyway.
Written for my dear E., who I continue to love and miss with every breath. . .
Part of the WordPress daily prompt challenge. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/eerie/
Grief is a big, sloppy shirt.
It is ill-fitting on me,
oh, that’s a great word, you’d say.
Grief is missing our banter,
hearing your voice, but not
being able to make out what you say.
Grief is drunken, ragey, and frightening.
Grief is vomiting repeatedly,
until I’m scared I’ll
never breathe again.
Grief is purple, striped.
Grief has buttons and no bra.
Grief always wears a pin
on her lapel.
Grief has blue eyes that sparkle,
and doesn’t care
when I make bad metaphors in a poem,
because you’ll never read it.
Grief surges at the sight of daisies,
chokes on sobs at a cardinal
perched on top of your birdhouse–
Yes, the birds are moving in, I’ll say
because I know you’ll want to know.
Grief is a raised glass of pinot noir–
oh, that’s a good choice, you’d cheer.
Grief is your tiny fingers, and neat
nail beds, and a kiss on a cheek
I never knew I’d never see again.
Grief is swans and secrets.
Grief is not being able to read the
ee cummings poem to you.
Grief is missed chances.
Grief is laughing at your messy
handwriting on cards and in books.
It is wanting to believe there is
just a bit more than nothing
because otherwise it is just too much to bear.
Grief is not being able to cook
dinner for my children,
even though I hear you tell me to do just that.
Grief is frustrating my husband,
Grief is wanting to talk about you,
and feeling like I never deserved you,
and wanting to forget you,
and loving you because you were
my champion, and you saw me.
You saw me.
Grief is imagining you,
in your big shirt, as you leave
your body and look around you
with that insatiable curiosity.
I think you look back at it all
maybe just for a second,
and then you smile,
tug at your shirt
and say okay, yeah.
— for my dearest dear, E.
I loved her.
She was dear to me.
She was a good friend.
To know her was so love her.
She was an amazing person.
I caught myself doing this and was kind of like, WTF?
Of course I still LOVE her. Present tense. And of course she IS still dear to me. Present tense. She will always be a great friend and an amazing person. Those are just facts that go on and on ad infinitum.
FUCK THE PAST TENSE.
I’m trying hard to remember a specific memory about Patty. Truth is, after I left that job, we didn’t spend a ton of time together. But that didn’t matter much. We had a bond and a very deep mutual affection. Like family you don’t see for many years because they live far off.
See, I did it again.
We still HAVE a bond and deep mutual affection. Death does not get to put that in the past tense.
Death, that fucking fucker.
Anyway, the last time I saw Patty was when I was on maternity leave with Emily. We went out to lunch. I was still struggling with nursing Em and I sat there, scrunched up in this booth, trying to get Emily to pay attention to my boob and latch. But Em was fussy. Patty held her patiently while I ate and the two of them made a love connection. Patty loved babies. She never had any, but she sure loved them and never was bitter or begrudging that other people had babies and she didn’t.
I guess it was her calm energy and sweet spirit Emily responded to that day.
We stayed in touch on Facebook and email, me and Patty. Then we fell out of touch for about a year. Then she died.
I didn’t know she was sick. Turns out a lot of people didn’t know she was sick. I think she tried to keep it private, and tried to protect people from the ravages of her illness. She wasn’t one to make a fuss or draw attention to herself.
She was one of the best of the best.
Um yeah. Fuck you death. She still IS one of the best of the best. Present fucking tense.
I may not believe in God as such, but I very much believe in Love. And I believe Love doesn’t die.
So, I’ve got to focus really hard on not letting that black hole suck up my present tense and turn it into the past. Because that would be the real loss.
There was an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in which he spent a good deal of time in the bathroom.
He was trying to explain and show children that they could never go down the drains of the tub, sink, or toilet.
As he did, he sang a song specific to the occasion.
Grief has a way of making me feel like I’m spiraling down some big, cosmic drain. It feels scary. There could be icky stuff on the sides of the drain that gets stuck to me. My arms and legs might lose control in the strength of the water as it cyclones down and away.
There is a helplessness in grief.
You can’t go back and do or say anything differently.
You can’t say anything now that really changes the pain of the situation.
And there is no way to truly know what the other person would say back, just our imagination that concocts situations to either comfort or chill our souls.
The open window brings
sounds of the street
and a breezey innocence
and we’ve never known fear;
we are alive simply to be here.
But it is winter and wrong
and I have forgotten
what to say
as the distance becomes
an ocean in our way,
and I’m snapped
back from my regression
into my own chapped skin
and raw days.
Flowers do not bloom.
I cannot hear you
sigh my name.