I will not tend this loss with clouds or feathers.
This loss requires nettles, calls for flagellation.
This loss is lenten, sacrificial, swollen with regret.
Remembrance is sold as a tender thing, wreathed
in flowers, shot with a vaseline lens. I do not buy it.
This loss itemizes each heave and raw deal.
This loss makes brittle branches of my rib cage.
Grief has no easy remedy, and the cold seeps
into each sleepless toss to twist me broken.
This loss claws its way up the windpipe.
This loss rumbles the gut like a pitted stone.
A coward mourns by weeping, tears gentle
and soft, caress of saline, simple fix that tricks
the body into thinking it is healed. Bring me
teeth, sharp and ripping flesh, the rack that
rends each ligament. Let the ghosts come dancing;
let the wolves come, too. I will laud the dust
and clamor, the mess of it. Reverence requires
a regular cleave and mending of the heart. Watch me
hold it in my hands until my hands can no longer hold.
Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress, 2013) as well as eight chapbooks, most recently The Girl (Porkbelly Press). Her poems and reviews have appeared in numerous journals including Waxwing, Rhino, Quarterly West, Poet Lore, Diode and Sugar House Review.