A Collection of Grief
We Draw Lines
We draw lines like tree trunks,
a dusting of wings battling the air, and fallen snow—
touching the painted surfaces of cheeks and wrinkled hands reaching for moments
where the wind only touched—faintly
and with reflecting leaves plainly showing colors crayola named.
We stand there heads tilted and arms
outstretched for cyan— for gold—for a warming that you feel through your
flannel but you can’t see. Through the end of wet eyelashes and thin creeping vines
that climb lengths you could never go
but you still believe because someone had to.
I’ve looked up—everywhere and for sprites of clouds
but all I find are trails left for feathers
that I cannot touch
but with my eyelashes and tips of nerves tilted upward
I can see from your tense eyes—
have been in fight or flight mode
for so many years
There is a smallness
to the air when it is cold tilting hairs upward under your flannel
Stretching up and holding something in scarcity
makes you lose feeling
in your arms and legs.
You aren’t sure if the warmth on your cheeks
is a whisper or perhaps
the sun coming up once again.
The theft of a measure
in which our heart beats— satisfy the bar
and tone it to sheets and scores that slice into each muscle
and serenade our bones our breath, our vibrations
until some lull and some swell to a bridge of happiness
or maybe a note of an ancient ache that bells through you.
A toll—satisfied with more lines more attempts to climb
to end and drown in depth.
We skip for the smallest sound and giggle like a peony grasping open for little laughs— daisies.
A tie—drawing those soft smiles of music
to tease looks out of those who dare glance at the barline—
And so short, laughing back evaporated—
before we could even understand the articulation.
Like we owned anything
of our minds when the heart thought to compose.
There is a cavern slowly dripping open
with every drop
of inaction and salt
that flows down so quickly without effort but just
as sharp as the first day it was forged
With all my might I try
to pull it closed—grasping the slippery edges
that surround the open mouth
You walk over it without falling in—as if you cannot feel the cool
air whispering from it
I—can hold each edge
in my fist and shiver from its chill—hoping you will come near me with the warmth
we once felt from a dune’s curve or the round stones that had
capped it closed—but we kept snatching up and tossing into the ocean.
Amanda Curless -