Monday, March 7, 2011

She's Come to Stay

Grief is this long lost relative that comes to stay.
She arrives unannounced and  you stand helpless
as she carries in bag after bag.
She tells you, her voice thick (does she have bad adenoids
you wonder?)
that she won't be here too long
and she hopes you won't be inconvenienced but
well, she simply had no other choice
and by the way if it isn't too much bother
could she put her kefir somewhere in your fridge?

Days go by and she is still here.
Still sitting in your favourite chair,
rummaging through your bookshelves
and pacing the halls at night.

What is she looking for?
Why does she leave her tissues balled up in the corner
of your sofa?
Why won't she go?

One day you wake up and you can't hear her.
She's not giving your bathroom a good clean
and she doesn't seem to be in the kitchen or even
out on the deck.

You sigh and relax into your body
like it is a home you'd long forgotten.
You hum a bit - something by Gershwin or
Sondheim.
You inhabit your home, your body in an old
familiar way.

You whistle, even though you can't
(let's just say you can
for this poem, OK?)
You whistle down the hall and
go into the guest room to open the window.
You want the smell of vicks and juicy fruit and
orlon sweaters gone gone gone.

But there she is
lying in a comma
on the bed
weeping her weird little heart out.

At first you want to kill the bitch
but you don't.

Instead you slide your shoes off and lie down
on the bed
beside her
beside your grief.
You put your arm around her
and finally welcome her home.

13 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

This is, honestly, the best, most-relatable poem I've ever read on grief. Both funny and beautifully put, Jan. And I hope your grief will lessen with the writing of your poem.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, Jan, this was beautiful! You KNOW you can't throw her out, as badly as you want to... then wonder where she went... I think this is an ingenius personification.

Jan Morrison said...

Elizabeth - thank you - and writing always helps.

Tartlette - thanks deario. I wrote it late last night after I did the Burrower piece but I wrote it in my head on the way home from the March Hare.

Ann said...

Accepting grief. I think you capture the journey here perfectly Jan. Wonderful poem.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Wow…what an excellent job you did on capturing the feeling of grief. Now excuse me while I go get a Kleenex.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

That's an amazing poem, Jan. You capture the presence of grief perfectly. I'm awed by how fast you say you wrote this. And I feel the need to curl up, too.

grrl + dog said...

it's got to peel a layer off,

writing it out?

I hope so.

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Ann.
Jane - I appreciate your tears!
Tricia - sometimes a poem comes in one piece - usually when I don't have paper...
Denise - I think not shying away from it does help...

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Beautifully done, Jan. This is such a wonderful description of living with and accepting the presence of grief. She works on her own timetable.

RosieC said...

Jan, this is beautiful, and the imagery is spot on. Thank you for sharing this.

Jan Morrison said...

Elspeth - you got that right!

Rosie - thanks so much...

RosieC said...

PS--If you have a chance, stop by my blog today. I have something waiting for you there :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Beautiful. Grief has so many facets and stages and parts. You've done a wonderful job depicting it all.