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

A January day that lives forever

In my head —
      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

This time last year

The shadows are falling the same as they were last year
The early summer calm sounds the same as it did last year
As it did at this same time last year, when the babies died
When the babies died, and the mama grieved for days.

—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

White butterfly

Thank you for believing in me still —
after all these give-ups
and half-days trying:
the days half-trying —
your strength flies over my weakness
my strength aspires to you;
I spot you all the time
knowing you’re spotting me.
Looking close is fine and good,
once in a while
but flight is beauty,
your waving wings
and gliding, soaring courage,
green leaves & faith your backdrop,
blue sky your home.
You never stay too long
but are always there
when I need you.
To remind me of beauty
and make all my poetry prayer,
I don’t know if the air is sweet
for you, or hard —
for me the ground is both —
but you’re still here
and I thank you.

—Terri Guillemets