Couch

I long to be close to
where your beating heart
was among its last beats.

I sit on the couch where
we spent your last night —
but cannot bring myself
to be on the cushion where
life was fading from you
and you laid against me.

I didn’t sleep, for vigilance
you didn’t sleep, for pain —
so tired, so dazed, so lucid,
so knowing, so loved, —
so gone.

—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

A January day that lives forever

In my mind —
      I’ve tried a million
      times to go back
      to that day —
tried to change
      my choices
begged a do-over
      from the universe
I’ve crippled myself with
      guilt
      sorrow
thrashing the quicksand
      sinking in
      layers of grief
fighting a sticky web
      trapped in
      regret-regret-regret
I don’t even care about
      my own
      broken heart
I’m sorry
      I broke yours

—Terri Guillemets

Memories shiver

Why does cold weather refresh old griefs?
      More quiet for reflection?
      Longer nights to lay awake?
Like citrus, grief is a winter fruit.

—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

Half-breaths

Grieving is being
      at the bottom
      of quicksand
      trying to claw
      my way up —
because I need to breathe

When you died, my
      breath left with you
      my lungs, my life —
filled with half-breaths

I’m thankful for your life
is all that gets me through

—Terri Guillemets