that’s what you need. You might hear a whole chorus
if the loss is Universal. Sound alerts others with grief
to its gathering circles.
grief waits for you patiently. It ignores you
grief hibernates when too cold, emerging
Fully alive in freshwater ponds and marshes,
it demands you to walk through the muck
at your harshest. It sings like a shriek
as it consumes helpless prey: That’s you;
you’re the mouse, the fish, the snake.
Deep in the mud, at your worst
and finest—grief coughs and releases your heart
from the sludge, and the sounds of the chorus
suddenly change, as Jug-O-Rum, Jug-O-Rum
croak forth This-Is-Love.
The last pear out, or the apple
taken from the bowl on some old Grandma’s
table. The last time she kissed you; the last time
you kissed someone on the lips without knowing
what it meant. The death of innocence. The final
straw; last one in the bag. Bag of bones before they
carry you home & Salvation awaits at the very last gate.
Last time you wore socks with no shoes, the last time
getting the blues self-resolved. Now we need more
than time, rhyme, and prayers: Now we need chemicals
scalpel, repairs. Final day of classes, nothing more
to study. A new car arrives, goodbye to old jalopy.
Nostalgia is a drink made with bitters to chase
pungent sharp shock of hangover away. The last time
“The last time” was ever a lie. The last time the truth
set anyone free. Make my blood run yellow in the black
skillet—crack the timid shell of one last egg. The final
bite, last cube of ice, one last thing that I did right,
and now, I hold all sacred things within cupped hands,
ready to be set free: Lift palms and release like two
white doves every last moment in a spiritual stance;
then turn, and wind that music box—
I want us to gather;
we still need to dance.
Gillian Thomas is a DC-area writer, poet, and mother to her 9-year old son. A graduate of New York City’s Hunter College, Thomas received her Bachelor’s degree in English and theater before being published in The Iconoclast. She works from home, writing and sharing parenting duties with her significant other. Thomas’ work has been featured in Beltway Poetry Quarterly,Spry, JMWW journal, and others.