when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
words that start with the letter “s”
saprophyte: plant living on dead or decaying matter
sepulchral: funereal or gloomy
serotinous: flowering late
somatasthenia: weakness of the body
sparagmos: ritualized tearing apart of a person
spinneret: silk-spinning organ of an insect or spider
syzygy: alignment of celestial bodies
A hangover. Burnt toast. Stubbed toes. A lost job.
I wish you weeping in the shower. Salt in the sugar bowl.
A wishlist of sorrows. Grief, not guilt.
Hole in your favorite coat. Stain on the good suit.
Arthritis for your joints. A broken guitar string at every show.
I wish each breath a little harder. Each workday
an hour longer. I wish your heart a thousand breaks.
All your sports teams, bottom rank. I wish your friends
go quiet. The leaves brown above your head.
A thunderstorm every morning. Nothing but pearls
when you shop for her diamond. I wish you bad knees,
a sore back. Empty sheets. A ghost to haunt your house.
A tub brimming with mud. Closet stuffed with too-small shoes.
Flat beer. Sour milk. Weak coffee. I wish you
flat tires, soggy pasta, a tax audit to fail.
Bent forks, dull knives. A hangnail for every finger.
I wish you a room wallpapered with my photographs.
A chamber filled with empty bassinets.
This is a 3 a.m.
phone call to 911
from the back
of a stranger’s trunk.
This is a prayer.
This is a bar napkin secret
flushed down the toilet
of a one-night stand’s
A bucket list –
only 7) fall in love
crossed out of it.
These, my hands.
Things I would ink
on skin if all the paper
in the world disappeared.
This is a swear. A gunshot
fired, echoing, from a distance.
Me saying yes
and no to anyone who
makes me feel like I don’t
deserve it. This is
of a door slamming.
The anatomy of a parentheses.
Another name for the heart.
This is my mother,
seven years old
and surviving on nothing
but soy sauce
This is never an apology.
This is what the night would say
if it had your mouth
on my mouth
before I punched you
on the mouth.
But mostly what the light
would say. Always,