List Poem

Inspired by the Monday Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect, a list poem (draft #1), by me.

I suppose this is a “how to” list poem. Yesterday I brain-stormed a bunch of how-to’s: how to sing, how to wake up, how to fix your “check engine” light (that would be a one-line poem for me: cover it with a Post It note). Today when I saw my list, this topic gave me a spark. After the poem sits for a few months, I’ll go back to it and revise.

How to grieve
Make friends with your closet:
turn out the light,
lie on your side on the floor,
way back where the carpet is firm, untrodden.
Let the pant hems brush your cheek
like a mother’s fingers.
Feel for the fallen scarf,
an old shirt set aside,
anything absorbent:
hold it to your face.
Spend the tears
like you are loaded.
Go back to the days
of caves and howling,
to a time before conversation,
because it’s true: there are no words.

For as long as you must, stay.

One day, you will go out into the world again,
and the sun will warm you,
and you may hear some song
that starts you crying
on the corner
but you’ll keep
standing, you’ll

keep going.