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 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

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

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