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.

A Place to Stand

Wysteria – Catania, Sicily, Italy, 2018

A Place to Stand

I’m looking for a place to stand, a place past

judgement and labeling, past anger and hatred, a place beyond

fear. My feet keep moving, stretching, searching, hungry to find space

where my heart can bloom and my soul can sing. I stay awake and pay attention because

this place is subtle, like the flavor of saffron lingering in my mouth. It’s a nuanced spot

that only speaks when you slow down, when you reach inside and listen deeply

to your body’s wisdom. The location settles you in a contented solitude, a seclusion

that moves you past the duality of good and bad, stability and freedom, attachment and aversion.

When you follow your embodied experience, you find a place to stand where

your being is washed in light, where your heart opens like a flower, where possibility

flows like a river over your feet standing along the stony shore. 

This poem is part of an online collection I call All the Shapes of Joy.