Grief’s Visit

Vendicari, Sicily, Italy
Grief’s Visit

Her dress was drab, a dull brown 
that blended in with everything, the bark 
of the trees, the walnut paneling on the wall, so most 
of the time she didn’t stand out, not the way 
her sister does with her sunny yellows and passionate pinks. 
But today, her chestnut, russet and umber hues held the light 
just enough that you were aware 
of her when she was in the room. 

We sat there together at the kitchen table, hoping 
that if we did something normal, like share 
a cup of tea, we might feel like our usual selves. Her stare 
was ghostly, like she’d left her spirit on the other side 
of the lake during our early morning walk. Her ‘smile’, 
well you couldn’t really call it that; it was a dash 
at the bottom of her face; not like punctuation, more like a cut, 
maybe even a gash, the kind you get when you aren’t paying attention 
and slice into your skin near your fingernail. 

She said she was ravenous for silence and solitude. If 
she could only devour enough of it, she’d get her energy 
back, her body would start working again, the way it used to, 
before. So she stood up somewhat unsteady and left 
for the stillness and sanctuary of bed and covered herself 
up, slowly with the edge of the quilt balled in her hand and pulling it 
all the way around and over her head. 

I share this poem in the spirit of embracing all that is, all of what is in being human. These dark moments hollow us out so that joy can flow back in.

This poem is also part of a collection I put together called All the Shapes of Joy.

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