Grief Poem #5

(inspired by Canto de Obsidiana by Gerardo Suter, MACO exhibit, 2013)

Obsidian Shard

In the length of a phone call
it entered my flesh
pierced my chest through and through
my world torn off its axis
skin, muscle, ventricle, auricle, tissue, vein
penetrated by needle-thin volcanic glass.
I do not make peace with it.
I do not accept it.
There is no resolution, no closure.
I allow. No thing more.
By now its presence is not felt
until the sound of violin, tenor, or harp
splinters its strange reality
and fills me with old shadows.

Afterward, as if melted by memory’s furnace
it re-forms into the most slender of slivers.
In the night, I caress it for comfort.
Like a genie in a bottle
rubbed the right way
it brings the precious history
restores the unbroken umbilical cord.

I begin and begin again
and in her ending my beginning
grows fiercely forward
like the saguaro grows taller, stronger from lack.
I shed my black mourning, receive the sun. 

© creativecommonsstockphotos / Dreamstime Stock Photos

The After Death Chronicles: True Stories of Comfort, Guidance, and Wisdom from Beyond the Veil. To be released October 6, 2017. Pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound. Find out more on my Book page at www.anniemattingley.com/books

Grief Poem #1, 2011

13 Moons, Since

Somehow I have managed
to weave her a nest
from bits of bone
my fallen hair
her ash, the shredded pages
of her old IRS forms.
I’ve knit these together
on the beams of the 13 moons,
since.

I can—most of the time—
keep her tucked in this corner of my heart
where the spirits care for her.
I don’t trip over the anguish
nearly so often now,
now mostly only when I choose.
Mostly.

I can’t recall the last time
I broke down after dialing
yet one more 800 number
to have her name removed
from yet one more mailing list.
We’ll need her signature,
one hapless call-center guy replied.
That will be difficult
I re-explained
since she is dead.
Oh, he said.
I’ll take care of it, he said.
Would that you could, I thought.
I open her mail: “Order now,
we’ll give you free shipping for life.”
And, after her mail is forwarded to my house,
“Welcome to the neighborhood.”

I am forced to say she is dead
over and over again
to write deceased across forms
to declare myself
the personal representative
of her Estate, to ask
do you need the Letters Testamentary?
a Death Certificate?
will a photocopy do?
Each action, each word spoken
another letting of blood.

Yet without these burdens
I might have wandered
the labyrinthine hallways
of disbelief for an eternity.
Only as her mail shrank
my official duties withered
could I begin to glean
that what remains of my daughter
is this one bittersweet bundle
nestled here within me.

© creativecommonsstockphotos / Dreamstime Stock Photo

The After Death Chronicles: True Stories of Comfort, Guidance, and Wisdom from Beyond the Veil. To be released October 6, 2017. Watch for pre-ordering in July.
www.anniemattingley.com