Grace there used to be in the mourning
Banded arms, veil-shrouded tears
Private yet publicly seen scenes
Black cars with black windows
To hold the bleakness inside
So that it doesn’t leak out and get on passers-by
Why did it have to come the year she understood
there is no afterlife
This is life, get after it
One per customer, one size fits most
Unless you have the imagination for two
Which proves good, since she is one now.
Why did he write for forever preserved in words, her manna
His inked fingerprints staining the paper
“I hope this is your best year yet”
In the year that all colors turned to ash, heart turned into
Endless forms, mailings, courtrooms
The vagaries of dead life
Why did people say ‘he’s watching over you’ like
That is comforting – oh, to comfort them, that’s right
Because love can barely bear to watch the loved
Suffer, fall apart, spin out of control, lay staring at the ceiling
Mumbling like a mad person alone in the dark
Maybe they think he went to hell.
Why was the snow so damn beautiful when her eyes could
Not see but kept seeing anyway, recording like an old 8mm reel
The film breaking often, or was that her breaking
She can’t recall
Autumn leaves still turned dammit
Making a double lump in her throat
WHY DIDN’T EVERYTHING STOP
So that she could catch a breath
At the bottom of the roller coaster loop of life-after-death
Face frozen, not sure if one is screaming or smiling
But it didn’t.
It did not even pause.
Why did death arrive and depart without a prescient knowing
No announcement, no pre-requisite
Must sign here on dotted lines and acknowledge
In triplicate (one copy per customer); it is pink
And reads “Please retain for your records”
When it is recorded in her essentiality.
And the fucking dogs, always looking, waiting
Hopeful, external imitations of the mayhem inside of her
Them looking to her like she held some answer
Instead of just another food bowl
When she remembered to feed them at all
Could she use the kibble as runes?
Why could she not cry, start to cry,
In fury, in frailty, never really starting
Afraid she’d never stop, couldn’t stop,
Would not want to stop
But prefer to wail forever like sirens caught in an echo chamber
Why did her legs and arms keep moving, carrying body and
This burden of absence
Instead of collapsing like her head
Upon itself, rotely doing what has to be done
No, they just kept on going as if saying “There is nothing to see here, Carry on”
which was true – he was gone.
Why did her face register nothing of this and yet
Her insides turn to frozen glass, tinkling as
Fingers grazing mementos accidentally with intention
A memory fell out here and there,
Like lint from the dryer of life’s pockets
Except that she was just wrung out to dry instead, hanging there
Why you see, it is because she doesn’t mourn well.
She lacks grace, only lusts after veils
Behind which to hide
Uses words as fences through which to peer
At her healing, one word at a time
You see, she can only mourn through her pen.
Inspiration: Expression of widowhood. I would write this on his death anniversary, except I have to work that day. Today I did not. Through the support of friends, new and old I am able to complete this chapter, if it can ever truly be complete. To K, thank you, more than you know.