Free spirit

i don’t want to be
just a strand of dna
passing through time
or an echo of a face
repeated down the line

just another leaf falling
from the family tree
a bloodline that someday
ends with the end of me —

i want to be the sky
or an eternal poem
wildflowers growing
wherever seeds roam

i want to be the wind
or wandering clouds
or the rain that drifts
or a free soaring bird
or starshine at night —
eternity’s glowing
ethereal light

—Terri Guillemets

A lesson

Death teaches us meaning
      of the word sudden —
one minute there, one minute
            not —

the blackness, the blankness,
the emptiness, the silence, the void —
the most palpable, oppressing nothing
      there ever was.

—Terri Guillemets

Lost in thought

We’ve lost, we’re losing,
it’s so much loss, too much.

But the clouds are rolling
and the breeze is blowing
and nature is so beautiful
and the dried delicate leaves
are doing their dance of balance
between hanging on and falling away
amidst their wintry shiverings —

they love the wind
for helping them let go —

they fall to the ground
and the gentle rain comes
and helps them nourish the earth.

A gray bird lands on a bare gray branch
both unadorned, yet so, so beautiful.
And the leaves are drifting
and our lives are drifting
and loss is just another form of beauty.

—Terri Guillemets

Vanished

i hurt every day remembering
that i wasn’t there for you
the hardest day of suffering
— i left you painfully alone
when you needed me most
so damn close, but not there
which is the farthest away —
i was a fool, oblivious numbskull
a frozen hearted ragdoll zombie

—Terri Guillemets

Death lights heavy

Hummingbird mama —
abandons her nonviable eggs
but keeps checking back
a few more times, just to be sure.

Arms fall off a saguaro,
break open on the ground
like fragile eggshells —
after years of desert still-life
a few seconds of death-motion.

But the night breeze is so beautiful
those breezes are — so beautiful,
it’s hard not to get swept away.

—Terri Guillemets

Memorial

grieving makes us stronger —
it gives us a spirit of grace
      and the grace of spirit
our hearts feel weaker
      but living past loss is
      the ultimate courage
we honor our loved ones
      by living on despite —
      and all the more because

—Terri Guillemets

Forever lit with the soul of another

Immediate grief —
      a falling to the knees
      a bleeding of the heart
      a blow to the soul

Ongoing grief —
      a getting up
      a call to move on
      a healing & strengthening
      a melding of soul
            with sorrow
            with loss
            with life
      a transformation of self
            to renewed being
            rebuilt with the
            leavings of another

—Terri Guillemets

Grieving to the marrow

GRIEF  twists the heart
and contorts the mind
carves the spirit hollow
wrings the past to tears
torrentially obscuring future

LOVE  saturates memory
until sorrow overflows
into every pore of present

ALL  you can feel is emptiness
and a lump in the throat
platitudes no consolation
but living on nonetheless

—Terri Guillemets

We picked up your ashes today

We picked up your ashes today
When I look at them, I see bone
When I close my eyes, I see light
Something like an invisible hand
raises my lowered chin
      —“Keep looking up”
Was that your gesture? or God’s?
I loved you on earth
and I love you beyond
      —Welcome home

—Terri Guillemets