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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 

or sprinkling 


but all I find are trails left for feathers 

that I cannot touch 


but with my eyelashes and tips of nerves tilted upward 


around fingertips 

I can see from your tense eyes— 


that you 


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 

and numbing— 


that maybe 

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 Tie 


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 -

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