"A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings"

-from D.H. Lawrence's "Piano"

The State of Grief, One Year Later

My grief for my mother has of late assumed the form
of a dark fleshy hollow just under my sternum,

just to the right of my heart. Even now, from time to time,
this pit expands, widens past my corporeal limits

and wraps its sucking emptiness around me,
shrieks its rage and pain into my ears,

drowning out the outer world and replacing it
with the crushing, inescapable permanence of loss.

I've come to relish these interruptions as one more reminder
that "back to normal" remains a laughable pipe dream.

More chilling by far are the times when the pit contracts
and calcifies into a tiny fist above my ribcage, dormant,

ineffectual, all but forgotten in the interminable return
to day-to-day life. These lapses occur with increasing frequency.

Each time I feel the fist unclench, I realize I've spent
another unknowable stretch of my existence forgetting to mourn her.

I become numb, then horrified. I'm scared I'll forget her face,
her real face, her voice, her teachings, the way she filled a room

without actually taking up space, the laugh she laughed
when she felt free, every wonderful indestructible thing

she was. I would rather mourn her than lose her,
would rather ache forever than forget even one detail.

I know the smallest things will prove impossible to hold.
And so my grief for my mother has of late assumed the form

of a kind of grief for my grieving, a lament for the sharp sense of loss
that kept me grounded in grief. I don't want to move through it.

But I do. Grief evolves. And we are survivors, she and I,
pitted and raw, drowning and laughing, in spite of everything, alive.

Poetry by Lady Courtaire
Read 240 times
Written on 2020-09-14 at 21:31

Tags Grief  Mourning  Reflection 

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Bibek The PoetBay support member heart!
What I really like about this poem is the use of an extended metaphor, and how you stretch the idea to the very end. The grief expands and evolves. With its changing form, readers too experience the speaker's grief and feel for her. Overall, a deftly written poem -- the couplets and enjambments work well, making the flow a smooth and poignant one.


P.S. Welcome to the Bay again! Look forward to reading more of your works.

So sorry for your loss.Your writing describes my nightmare.If i loose my mother what will i do after loosing my father?It is such a terrible situation and i hate life for this kind of pains that she gives us.Again i am so sorry for your mother.God bless her soul.

ken d williams The PoetBay support member heart!
A great work, strait from the hart of the mind a work that I truly appresaite. So happy that you ready to write what ever is on your mind. What ever comes to mind to write hear on our poetbay your poetbay, Lady Courtaire.
Ken D (Williams)

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
I enjoyed this poem. I found it interesting because it describes a feeling that I don't feel. Maybe it was because I lost a number of pets when I was a child, but I 'm no longer capable of experiencing grief.

Reading your writing, I am transfixed. I find myself sitting at my desk, feelings washing over me. You have such a beautiful way of connecting with your emotions and expressing them in such a way that I cannot help but grieve with you. It brings to mind such wonderful memories and echoes of the past. Thank you for the vulnerability and openness you show in your writing. Hoping to hear more from you soon.

Welcome to the Bay! I rember those sorts of feelings, the stages of grief, you move through your poetry and descriptions palpably, bravo.