In The Middle Of Grief

In The Middle Of Grief

No start here’s demarcated for convenience, clearly
Black and white signage gone missing
Like a crucial stop sign stolen by the juvenile for wall art in their dorm

No lesson plan, well bullet-pointed, yellow Sharpie highlighted
Key points in bold to guide you
Clear as water, bought and paid for

No manual, though plenty of truisms
“Grief shared is grief diminished”
Comes to mind amid the grief

No terra firma
Safe harbors
Ports in the storm for the rocking boat

For the raw time being
In the beginning there is death, and we are parted
Dearly departed, we
Until the healing begins

And you begin to move through the arc of grief
Slow, not steady
Like an 8th grader, in Calculus class
Over their head, up to their mascara heavy, eye-shadow laden eyeballs
In deep

Walking to the grave helps
Just don’t watch me grieve
You told me all I need to know
I was loved
I loved
Well

There is no middle
There is no end
The circle is never broken

Ashes to ashes, dust to dusk
And then the bell rings
Time’s up, pencils down

It is well to remember
You were loved
You loved
Well

The circle of love is never broken, friend
Your bark has made it’s mark on me

 

 

 

 

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A Triptych

heart bright in wood

One

It is a strange thing, your leaving
In increments
This slow fade, pains us
The dialing down and dialing back
I wish for your speedy recovery
That you would return to us
It is a strange thing, your leaving. like a dismantling
We are all coming apart at the seams
I never liked one thousand two hundred and fifty piece jigsaw puzzles
Now I like them even less
Pieces are missing from what I can see of you
This slow fade, pains me
I watched you leave us slowly
Someone took the big fat pink eraser to your mind
Long minutes of searching drag by
And you’re still unable to find that lost piece of your vocabulary
The elusive word “chipmunk” escapes
Cruel game of cat and mouse of the mind
But peace attends us in its mercurial way
In a blink we are somehow fine with it all
A fractured picture
It looks nothing now like the photo on the box
Somehow, it looks like this
It is how we are meant to be
Hinged to the past by ligament and thread
Bone and blood
I will be your memory
And you will always be mine

Two

August has come with her goodbyes
I count and recount
Pack mules on every corner
Of every street, the scene repeated
A stuttering and stammering of goodbye
A grand exodus of fallen leaves
And gardens burned past recognition
Once full of promise
Now the leaving has begun
Can you see me waving my hand in hope
Of what will come
I know a secret of these cycles
Spun round more than once
I know the story’s end
The one this Earth is writing

Three

I seemed to think you would remain
Laden with fruit
A freak, an anomaly
Bearing forever
Always dripping with abundance
Your branches
Like a run-on-sentence
No break in the chain of goodness
A train-wreck of the overflow
And last time I checked
You bore one, singular and sweet
A parting gift for your beloved
For that I am grievous
That it is over
The faucet stopped its once endless flow
I let myself think it would never end
For that
I am a fool in the shadow of your love

Of Things That Have Been – Guest Post: Holly Grantham

What an honor to have my friend Holly Grantham visiting today. I invited her to bring her words. And she graciously said yes. Holly and I have enjoyed working as poetry partners in the past. You may recall our project entitled Adagio.

We have plans to collaborate after the first of the new year, writing poetry, sharing the lines and space, creating and word weaving together.

Enjoy now, the words of this beautiful woman..

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Of Things That Have Been

I finger them mindlessly most days,
These tokens of thanksgiving.
In some familiar corner of my brain I am
aware of their weight and
the anorexic string that
keeps them connected to a well
untended.
But something has shifted
inside of me and
I can’t remember
how to see.

+++++++++++++++++

I have a bowl that sits on my kitchen counter
and in it are the scraps and corners and pieces of
meals prepared and cooked and fed to
the people that I love.
The contents of that bowl get tossed,
mindlessly most days,
into a growling pile of dirt.
Layer upon layer of repasts
Just sitting there
Marinating
Giving themselves over to death.

+++++++++++++++++++

Most days since Spring
I feel a hollow ringing somewhere just
below my rib cage
as if my heart was suddenly deafened by
the weighted silence left in absence’s wake.
I long to be overwhelmed by wonder.
And then, one day, the memory, it returns
Joy, it grows in the humus of things that have been,
in the layers that settle at the bottom of my days.
I remember slowly
how to give thanks.
I remember, friends, how to see.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Holly Grantham, Bio

Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace.

After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends she lives in the country.

Holly may be found at her writing home A Lifetime of Days, on twitter @HollyAGrantham &
on her  facebook  writer page.  

We Are Human, Siri

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We Are Human, Siri

Last night Siri didn’t want to talk about God or Jesus
And my daughter asked her too about heaven and the cross
She didn’t know about Boston or pain
Or the burning desire to run and scream
Or run and hide, or just run ragged to the end of an outstretched
mirage of a horizon, legs burning lactate build up, gripping pain
So we let her off the hook and laughed
But we are still hanging by a thread
She told Siri to call her princess and to wake her up at 6:40
That’s nice
She can refer all those questions to a human and she did
She has a nice new Lilly Pulitzer case to hide in
But  we are cradled in the arms of the most High while
We ache about shattered limbs
And life in a chair, but it is still life
What were we thinking
A little mother daughter chat with an android voice
When the Creator of the Universe was available and is
We are human and so there is grace

I want to run and scream like a wild one and fling and flail
Arms swinging like helicopter blades
Expending crazy mad energy
I am human and I hurt
And I am in the company of millions
But we are covered by The Creator
Each deliriously painful moment of grief and loss heard
Siri can defer the questions to a human
I, thankfully can take all of mine to Him.
Bent, weak, bowed and shaken.
Humanity runs to the cross

under  a covering of love.

Siri, if you only knew such love

But the last word is always hope and His
And fear won’t strangle bold and brave
And bombs can’t rob our souls
Human kindness runs to aid
Man helps man and God loves man
Broken, fragile, wounded man
And hearts are broken but still beat
Blood runs hard and fast but so does
Compassion at the scene and in the world

Siri, if you only knew

The love of God most High

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

With Jennifer today for #tellhisstory and with Emily and my team at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays