Home > Uncategorized > The Expectation of Grief

The Expectation of Grief

You point to a box,
call it a house for grief,
say it’s standard issue
and there are no exceptions,
this ration
of walls is all you get.

You gesture toward a moment,
red as a stoplight, and call it
a cutoff, as if the heart
is nothing more
than a too-far-gone
drunk at a bar—
at some point, you must
refuse it service.

You say the word over
as if it is a scarecrow,
as if loss is an easily fooled
bird, as if feelings
can be fed to the wind,
as if a lie
might fly high enough
to become the truth.

You think this is
something I get to walk away
from, that it’s not a car wreck,
a suicide, a bad diagnosis.
You think bandage,
you think hid the pills,
you think medicine
is a miracle.
You think fix.

You think I should
abandon the scaffolding
on a house I only ever
half-built. You think locking
the doors means safe.
You think the number
of days matter, that
the experiment is over
and it was a failure—
but I don’t remember
a hypothesis,
a control group,
a safety meeting.

And I am still here.
I have broken everything.
I have made mistakes.
I have found
my mother’s face
in the mirror—I tried
to let her out, but she won’t
budge, refuses to emerge,
stays silent, stays gone.

I wonder what she would’ve made
of everything, of this, my heart
unhinged, sprung wide open,
a song falling out of a radio,
out of a window,
notes hitting the pavement
like steam, impossible
to prove, impossible to collect.

You say enough now.
You say gone.
You say done.
You hand me a secret
snapped like a wishbone,
uselessly jagged.

This is the expectation of grief—
that things will be okay
but what, I wonder, if they aren’t?

Is that better or worse?
Is that brave or more foolish?
Tell me how to let go
and I’ll try. Tell me
how to unlove
and I will remove
all the rusted parts. Tell me
you understand
that the worst advice
you can ever give someone
is judgment.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Oh. Wow. This is absolutely beautiful and powerful.

  2. March 3, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Incredible to see what you did with this. Wow. So powerful. Resonates so hard with me on many levels.

  3. March 5, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Ali, you always write the most beautiful things and this is no exception. The imagery is sad and abstract but quite fitting and i love it. I’ve said it before but sometimes you write about a lot of things that I’d rather just avoid. Things i want to pretend that I’m not feeling but you always have the most amazing way of putting the vast spectrum of human emotion into words and I really appreciate it. Also i recall you having written a book of poetry but have you written short stories? I can just imagine you leaving my heart in pieces and me loving it 🙂

  4. March 6, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Reblogged this on Existentialists R Us.

  5. March 6, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Really outstanding write

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