The Shape of Grief.

She balanced on each step as she crawled up from the basement
she had been down there to collect her thoughts
and what was left of him there
not much
she saw now
she knew this now
that he had been thin
a sliver of a man
a sliver of a human
and her roundness had kept them afloat
and yet
this somehow
did not make it easier to hold her own
hold her balance
it was that thin sliver that had been the last straw
it was that thin sliver of him wedged in just right
that had made her whole
and now he was not much
and she felt like even less.

And walking up and in as not much
is where you and I are when we meet her
our own dimensions do not matter much
they will not push her in this way nor that way
they will not hold her.
Neither here nor there.
That is the shape of her.

We are only here to observe
to hear
what we want and need to learn is beyond words.
In part it is a selfish need to feel better
More whole
than we are.
Thin slivers. Last straws.
The other part is a vague sense of having done something
good and right
and having been of support somehow.
But as I said we will not push, pull nor hold.
We can't.
That is the shape of grief.

We are the air around her as she walks up the steps
we are not the life she needs
we are not in her life
we are merely air.
The air into which she breathes the poison that
she hopes
will slowly kill her
kill her slowly
and by standing here we make the time it takes the poison to spread and reach her less.
The little air (for we are many) that is left around us soaks up her misery
at a faster pace.
The air she feels that she can not breathe.
That is the shape of condolences.

That is the shape of those who observe.
Those who help.
Here to help we
end up killing the little that was left of him
in her
and her in her
that being not much
but enough.
A shape.

Next time we better take
just that
better care.
it's the shape of things.
Next time we better care
while sadly soaking up
the shape of grief.
Soaking it right up and
out of them.
Better care while caring.
That should be the shape of things.
Wedge it in.


words: Cathrine Lødøen, Norway (snapshots)
image: Jeff Crouch, Texas (more)

another blueprintreview shape of grief poem:
The Bitter Years


BluePrintReview - issue 19 -
Beyond the Silence