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

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

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

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

Forever lit with the soul of another

Immediate grief is a falling to the knees, a bleeding of the heart, a blow to the soul. Ongoing grief is a getting up; a call to move on; a healing and a 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