What can you give to grief but what there is?
Stale air. Closed blinds. Take them.
Lay them at her feet. Grief knows who she is
And why she’s here. Recite whatever
Words come to your mouth. Happy Birthday.
Many Returns. Grief has heard it all.
It’s nothing new. She’ll look, not seeing you
For some time. Not what you wanted,
But there she is. The pallid light
Will start to quiver like jello. You will suck
The least bit of that stale air and say
There’s this bar around the corner–
She will sigh, bored as she always is
With the endlessness of mourning, it’s dreary,
Decorous dollop of dismay. Still,
She can’t dispense with it. Not even for
The best Bloody Mary in Duluth. And now you
Will sense a kind of opportunity:
The bottle of Glenlivet in the den, her languid
Acquiescence as you pour—
Admit it. You think you can live with grief.
You just might have to forevermore.
Fall 2010 Table of Contents