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National Poetry Month III

Treasure Your Grief

Not like a piece of jewellery kept in a box
but a scar across your face
a house plant blooming where sun
glares through a window.

Go back to that time—
the sunny afternoon in the park
you didn’t question
your feelings sweeping you out
from childhood to another’s body
so close it enters like a possession
a desire that doesn’t name itself

cut by fear
this is how women are destroyed
and you run away
shut down the portal to pleasure
as you will do again and again.

Go back to the image you hold onto
the someday promised, this or this
the girl who gives because she feels
the movie star everyone wants but can’t have
the radiant flesh, the brilliant idea
all yours if you play your cards
right not wrong. Right not left. Right not alone,
starving or battered.

New dove, shapely, winged and wise, goddess poised
on the edge of a mountain in the clouds
ready to jump or fly to eternal glory
shattered by all the missteps, mistakes and failings
the undeniable proof of your unremarkable humanity
your place in the anonymous family
and all the ways you have been let down or built up
washing the cloth of invincibility.

You’ll dream of long corridors searching for a baby
taken at birth to find she was never yours
and in the mirror no tragic victim looks back at you
no Cinderella or Joan of Arc.

Grief is not loss but inheritance, your fire,
your form. Grief is the callback to play yourself
with your sweat, your fear, challenged by desire
to answer the breaking Earth as though she were a heart
or some other organ, her blood rushing through
your own veins. As though you were yourself
a mind created to save her and after all these years
you learn the only thing you can be sure about
are the many opportunities you threw away.

There are no happy endings.
There is struggle. There is gratitude.
And there is silence.

(Infinite Power, Janet Vickers, Ekstasis 2016)

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