When your beloved dies

 

Tears

When you cry for seven days, sitting Shiva without planning

without even knowing that’s what you are doing

it empties out the tears as though a plug were yanked.

You stand next to his coffin as though you are really there

receiving from others’ their sorrow, storing it over your shoulder

to be released with his ashes into the wind the day you free him.

 

Grief

When you enter a territory of emptiness, a vacuum so generous

it includes everything, consumes even your living,

grief its name, but not even it remains, void is all, nothing

becomes your breath, fills your sight, steals your voice

until it too, seeps away in a leak through your heart

allowing first tears, pain, then pitch dark before life can come back.

 

Healing

When the tincture of caring from life begins its healing

you don’t believe it, like those shaman you see in stories healing believers,

but you let it happen watching the mystery fill you again with sight

the memories grow soft and move just out of sight, fading 

as living moves back in with its detritus of furniture and noise

introducing you to yourself unrecognizable since you are only bone.

 

Continuing

When you remember and wonder if you could have kept loving so intensely

in years ahead, and you step away from shame as you fall in love again,

you revel in the opening of another day, the birth of a grandchild,

the voice of a bird reminding of who no longer comes to mind

tears return, grief reaches out squeezing hot sorrow on your cooling aches

continuing on to the miracle of being born, dying in majestic rhythm,

you remember the cycle will persist when your time comes to leave.

Sharon Lopez Mooney, When your beloved dies, from “Smokey Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, Issue #15, Fall / Winter 2021, page 65, http://sblaam.com/