a psalm for grief

What is this low, deep darkness –
where only apparitions play?
My hands grasp and find nothing;
my voice cries and the sound is soaked up.
Here I am! Inside the furthest dark,
and where are You?

O, be strong and steady –
do not disappear when I reach out
or go silent when I plea.
Be ever with me in this dark-
ever present in this death,
Be with me.

Restore to me the hope of resurrection
and the peace of a seated King.

You will not be shaken,
and You are keeping me.
There is no dark where your love is not light;
There is no light that is not yours.

I am found in You, my light
my home.

It’s been a while, but here are some writings as my family lives out the grief and sorrow of losing William. I do not usually write poetry, but this was an assignment when I was in grief counseling last year. I dug it up to help as I sit with sadness today.

It sounds too easy, too light and defined.

If I was a better poet, I would make it messy. I would make it say things like “wring the numbness out of me / and never forget to feel the pain of death” and “break morning light on this dark day to vanish the chills of night” and “wrestle and make my mind submit to a glory bigger, better and outside this pain”… or something. I would make it tangled and I would make it have the harsh sound of typing keys. click click clackety CLACK clack CLACK. The meter would feel staccato with something like a long cello line running through it. And the edges – the space around the words – would move in close to hug the anger out.

And still it would read wrong.


so we can intersect

Where are You?

I am here, in the middle of things,
blinking against black with heavy eyelids
but the scenery stays the same.
And, where are you?

You are always everywhere,
but where is it that we intersect?
I forget where I go to be with You –
that place where You are with me.

I am here in the middle
like an astronaut or an island.

Where are You?
Because I am in the middle
and everything is unfinished.

I am not ready to go,
I am not ready to stay.
Please, tell me where You are
so we can intersect.

I saw you today

I haven’t written a creative story in awhile, so this is a belated birthday gift to my creative self.

I saw you today when the doors opened at the Rutland Rd stop on the 3 train. It was another new route, so I wasn’t surprised. There are always new things – always new ways the sun reaches across the train tracks to wake up the city.

You walked across my view on the platform as the doors were closing. You didn’t see me, sitting inside on the edge of the burnt orange seat and headed in the direction of New Lots Avenue. You were looking down, distracted slightly by your ipod and (I presume) a morning destination. Everyone has a destination in New York.

The dull ring of the bell sounded, followed by the friendly robotic message, “Stand clear of the closing doors.” And just like that, you passed from my view.

I kept thinking about you, though – about the laughs we shared together and the campfires we gathered around. I thought about the way we schemed dreams together and made giggles contagious on your living room floor. I thought about the unlikely way we met and the ridiculous series of events that threaded our ‘meeting’ out into a friendship like a patchwork quilt.

I thought about all that on my way to Junius Street where I caught the L train en route to the J train at Broadway Junction. I took the J train to Crescent Street and then walked to work. But I only do that sometimes, which is why it was so strange to see you when the doors opened at Rutland Rd.

I wanted to say, how are you friend? I wanted to say a lot of things, but I think I wanted more for you to say something to me. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to listen to you.

But it was mostly strange because you do not live in New York and because our friendship has unraveled. It was strange because we haven’t laughed in your living room in months. It was strange because I forgot about our scheming dreams.

It was strange because you weren’t there at all.