Grief is sacred.
She does not apologize
when she takes the room.
She knows the spaces
what they are needed for,
how many limbs and hearts and headaches
she must encircle gently
Like garlands made of daisy grass pulled by children.
She knows how broad the canopy
of hung dresses in the closet
above our weeping should be.
She summons the smells for us—
Smooths them out like the cloth of an embroidered table runner.
Lets the memories of a loved one gone
billow before our brains, scented like clothes on a line
opaque light leaking through recall
resting there surface-level
like sweat caught in an ancient t-shirt
worn to bed again and again
soft and unwashed.
Grief is quiet when we are quiet.
Wails loudest with us in our unkempt states.
Shudders with us when we lean over the pew.
Eyes blurring at the blood on pillars and floors.
Grief rolls down or pushes up the windows
to let the fresh air in,
folds her hands in her lap and waits
not for the day we won’t need her,
We will always need her,
she waits for the moments we see
that she and joy
wear the same face.
Cover image by Viktoria Hall-Waldhauser.