When your beloved dies
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.
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.
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.
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/