“Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.”

tonight, I watched a woman crumple in an aisle of the grocery store,
phone on the floor, holding a box of apple jacks in one hand
& weeping into the other.

nobody likes to think about leaving flowers on a grave,
carving a name into stone & blowing a kiss to the sky
to keep from fading with the sunset.

water drips down our backs & the woman presses a hand
to a shoulder she doesn’t know: begs for a prayer &
forgiveness. this is how i relearn the Lords Prayer.

my heart shatters into 99 prayer beads. a mother
should never have to bury her son. i am sorry
i don’t know either of their names.

no one kneels for what comes before the storm:
knees only bleed on the altar after
the rain falls.

the woman’s husband rows a flood of grief
all the way to the parking lot. i can’t
stand to watch them drown.

all my teeth are aching & my shoes are wet.
the sound of her heart cracking
keeps echoing in my head.

Poem 29 of 30


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