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
“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.
I 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.
Yet 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,
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.