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

            i’m sorry

—Terri Guillemets

Death lights heavy

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

Nested arms fall off a saguaro,
break open on the ground
like fragile eggshells —
after decades 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

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