I have been thinking about the mess we make of things by mourning them. The way we give them so much credit. The way we tighten their seams, and brighten their paint. My, you glowed then, didn’t you? For a time. They used to say the province of women was grief. It was assigned to us, like mothering. Another thing to tend to.
And grief requires tending, doesn’t it? It requires some attention. Maybe we cannot live in this world without grief. Everything has another side. The other half of joy, what is it? Is it grief? We celebrate for balance. Is that right? We celebrate so that we will not be overcome.
I don’t think so. I think our joy is not the other half, but the place inside grief. The heart of it. The center. I think that’s how grief begins to fall away. How it wears to us lightly, lightly. I have been trying to name the things I grieve, and somehow the words won’t form. I can’t see them. I can’t say them. And I don’t feel responsible for them. Not anymore.
Now that I am Never Alone
In the bath I look up and see the brown moth
pressed like a pair of unpredictable lips
against the white wall. I heat up
the water, running as much hot in as I can stand.
These handfuls over my shoulder—how once
he pulled my head against his thigh and dipped
a rivulet down my neck of coldest water from the spring
we were drinking from. Beautiful mischief
that stills a moment so I can never look
back. Only now, brightest now, and the water
never hot enough to drive that shiver out.
But I remember solitude—no other
presence and each thing what it was. Not this raw
fluttering I make of you as you have made of me
your watch-fire, your killing light.