Huge thanks to ben for giving me the space to showcase this poem from the new collection, and to talk about how it references an earlier poem.
Nine Years of Mourning
When my grief finally breaks
I shed the embarrassment
of mourning like a skin.
I have been sick with grief,
heavy with it, entombed by it
for so long I have atrophied
Unable to escape it, unwilling
to let her go again again again again
I treated grief as atonement,
punishment for her death.
Now I see
it was the perfect counter weight
for my love.
There is snap, a snip of umbilicus.
We slide apart. I step away.
Today I climb out of my skin;
my mourning dress. I am nude and white
as a stripped willow branch. I leave the dress behind;
stiff with the sweat of surviving.
I leave behind its brutal blacks,
its corset; so like the mouth
of a fledgling wanting more.
Only I know the comfort
of the pink inside of that dress.
It is time now. Now
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