Archives for category: grief

Lost

The official letter
she had been holding
trailed to the floor
and she fumbled
with a bowl of aphids,
suddenly lacking her
usual appetite for them.

Feeling clumsy,
she set them free
by a windowsill.
The world outside
seemed unreal—
slow and dream-like.
“I must be in shock,”
she mumbled inaudibly.

The letter bore
the usual formalities
and some kind of fancy
seal that meant it was
from someone important,
someone who would
know what he knows,
and bears the responsibility
for conveying only
necessary information
and unfortunate facts.

“Ms. Ladybird,”
it began. “It is with our
sincerest sorrow that
we regret to inform you:
your house has completely
succumbed to fire, and
we were unable to locate
most of your children
in the blaze.”

The impersonal black
words on the white page
were burned into her mind’s eye.
Everything inside her railed
against the horror.

It continued.
“We were able to save
but one, who was hiding
at the time of the incident;
she will be in our custody
for the time being,
and you may retrieve her
at your earliest opportunity.
She is being attended by
our fine counselors and
receiving the utmost
professional attention
deemed helpful, as
she awaits your
return.”

“Ann! Ann!”
She cried aimlessly
into the summer air,
her eyes blurred by tears,
frantic and frozen
in her helplessness.

“We offer our
heartfelt condolences
for your terrible loss.
It is our duty at this time
to strongly urge you
to fly away home
at once, for the good
of your surviving child,
as well as for your own
welfare.”

In a daze,
she read the words
like a foreign language,
barely comprehending.

“Home…yes…home,”
she resolved, still shaken.

“But where is home?”

Claire Juno, © 2017

…inspired by the English nursery rhyme, “Ladybird, Ladybird”.
…dedicated to all who feel displaced in this world, whether by calamity or circumstance.

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Muse

In dreams she appears,
telling him there is love,
still love, and to find it
for himself once again.

He shuts his mind,
out of eternal loyalty
to the one who claimed
his heart, and to whom
he surrenders it still,
even in her absence.

He will not allow any
alteration. This must be
a false message, a cruel
sprite urging him on
toward some mischief.

He tries to put it out
of his thoughts. This
is not she, he supposes,
and yet as plain as any
cherished snapshot,
she appears, the moon
in her ethereal eyes,
coming to him

night after night,
crossing the celestial
chasm between them,
ever-attendant, bringing
a message he refuses
to consider. Love,

brushing against
his cheek in a manner
he might mistake for
a night breeze—
she implores him to seek,
even as love seeks him,
not yet knowing
his name.

Though she is gone
many years now,
she loves him still,
and so she slips through
the cracks of his spartan
heart, long in need
of love’s repair, gently
inspiring love’s return.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Mind’s Value

This disembodied love
gently retires to the
spirit-corners of his mind,
the way a grown child
lays her beloved doll to rest
for a seeming eternity
in its little bed,

now a container for love’s
history, a personal context
perfectly preserved,
glass-eyed and unaltered
by the years.

That it is there, waiting
for him, ever-expectant,
was a needed security at first,
then a familiar comfort.

This relic of his heart
remains undisturbed
beneath layers of dust
and seasons, like a truth
even tender children
eventually learn.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Collector

He surrounds himself
with art, as his way
of bringing her back,
or at least finding ways
to be close to her again.

Free-form sculptures
become a silent homage
to the one who inspired him,
who breathed life into his
once-nascent understanding
of everything.

The halls of his home are full
and empty at the same time,
a solemn procession of tributes
to the very one who cannot
return to see them.

All are cold, smooth,
motionless— just like her pale lips
on the last day she was here.

Claire Juno, © 2016

 

Desolation

I am alone in this garden.
Alone with this pain.

I have told you before
how everyone has left me,
all have turned their backs,
all have chosen blindness
for the immunity it affords.
They are cut off from
their compassion.

There is no one to hide me away
from those who wish me harm,
who hate me without cause,
other than their sickness.

And I come to you with nothing left,
with empty hands, with a heart
weighed down by isolation and dread
and by the darkness itself, which seems
deep enough to snuff out my cries.
I know what is coming.

What I have already borne
is too heartbreaking. Though I am
strong and sturdy, the betrayal has
weakened me, has slowed my feet,
garbled my words.

I am afraid.

I have no one I can trust.
My sweat is tinged the color
of these roses in front of me
as I sit in this garden,
feeling unwell and uncertain
and small; powerless to deter
what must overtake me
to fulfill something greater
than myself.

The pain makes my head feel
as if it would burst, and the tears
that stream down offer no respite.
There is no one coming to aid me,
is there. You can hear me but
you do not help me, as much
as it hurts you to see me in this state.

We both agreed to this once upon a time.
Only we underestimated something.
We had no idea what it would actually
feel like to be here among them,
to become one of them. To nurse
from a breast, to learn to use our legs
and form words with our mouths,
to see blood spring from a scraped knee.

To see the sunrise as one of them,
to know friendship as they give and receive it.
To feel the warmth of a fire, an animal;
of brotherhood, of working side by side
until some work is accomplished.

To feel a fever, a lump in the throat,
our stomachs stirring with hunger.
To know the feeling of cool water on our
bodies. To know how they feel, and
what they feel, when they feel anything
in their world.

And now you’ve had me here,
building a life, an occupation, a purpose,
for some time. Enough context to make
the ending even more exquisitely
painful than we already anticipated
it would be.

This has become too complicated,
too wrought with attachments.
And I am certain now the torment
well under way will be unbearable.
It is too much.

That is all I can say
on this horrible night.
Words are escaping me now,
and my heart won’t stop pounding.
It has brought me little peace
to speak honestly to you, to make
my feelings known, in spite of the forces
already at work against me.

I know I am loved,
I know there will be an end
to my suffering, my fear and despair,
and that is all I have in this dark moment.

Claire Juno, © 2015

 

The intention of this writing is rooted in empathy, wondering what this experience could have been like, to the best that I can understand it.