Daily Reflection — I Told You Not to Come

I found this after I completed my grief journal, while working on putting together some home-made poetry chap books for some people dear to me who asked me not to buy them anything for Christmas.  I wrote this well before Kat passed, but it’s words so well depict the topsy-turvy nature of grief.  How, even after I largely feel I’ve moved beyond my pain, suddenly and without warning it will hit me so hard.

Hope some of you can relate with it and it helps give words to your grief.



Unheeded Restraining Order


waiting“I asked you not come,”

I whispered to her

while my heart lay open,

aching and broken on the table,

all ground gone from beneath my trembling feet.

Like the rabbit in the corn field

behind the house we later shared

when it was spooked by one of our howling dogs,

I had turned tail,

Trying so hard to run,

to hide in the solitary space

of my little rented room

that sat unseen in the bright California sun

sheltered beside the three orange trees

I liked to sit by and read

on warm spring days.


I was no rabbit, swift-footed and sure.

I crept away slow hoping to go unnoticed,

hunkering down like

some bear returning to his cave

holing up at the first winter chill.

She would not let me be,

would not let me slumber in secret.

Despite my hiding, she saw me.

She sought me out

and when she found me,

it was you I saw.


rain on tin roofI told you not to come, heartache,

I banned you from beneath my roof,

remembering how daddy went to work

every day but one

even when sick.

“Don’t come”, I thundered

because I wanted to pull it together,

to man up, just like him.

Men after all, I remembered, fix things.

They aren’t broken.

Like daddy, I wanted to carry the world

heavy upon my strong shoulders.

I would handle it.


But, grief, you came anyway

and when I saw you,

like that clothes-strewn, hidey-hole of a room

we hide away from the guests.

I wanted to shut the door,

to hide you, never to be seen again.


griefYet it is into you she walked when she strolled in,

and it is you I saw in her autumn eyes.

Is it any wonder?

After all, for all my talk of wanting, like him,

to carry it all like some shimmering globe upon my shoulders,

Atlas shrugged.

I remember seeing that globe

come rolling off from his back

with a noisy crack

splintering into a thousand glittering shards

dusting my floor like fresh-fallen snow,


Wild Turkey on his breath,

voice cracking on the phone,

he fall apart before me.


When I told him then “don’t call me back drunk”

how much was I not wanting that poison on his lips

and how much was I wanting to take that sight of him

shattered and broken

into that room with you,

so that you could stay hidden from my view.


But now as I sit

braced for the cold

looking back at that day

as across a sea of years

once blown by tempest

but now still as a mirror

reflecting the morning sun

I know her coming was a gift.

I had to see you in her eyes, to see me in mine.

I had to hold you, though your pieces cut, to let go.

I had to watch you eclipse my sky,

for sitting in your shadow,

my pain and anger fell like orange leaves upon October ground.

And it was the water of those tears in my eyes,

the wind from the curses and whimpers upon my lips,

which grew the seed of beginning again

budding into the laughter and smiles

that now grace my face

which, with those waters, is now lit by amber sunrise.


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