Poems for the End of the World: How to Grieve

How to Grieve

when you are ready to begin,
look for something alive
something new
and opening.
bend your hand
around the flame of this tender joy
and let it light your way.

place bare feet on the ground.
press knees forward.
sit back on feet.
stretch arms up over head.
press forward.
fold into the earth.
forehead, palms.
all touching the naked dirt.

turn head to the side and press left ear to the ground.
turn head again, press right ear to the ground.

stretch body flat out pressing chest into the tender
or even frozen soil and lay there, heart open,
arms stretched wide to either side,
fingers curled like claws and grasping,
clawing, digging.

let the earth remind you of how much
voice you’ve swallowed and feel it
well up in your throat.

wail when you’re ready.
moan like the wounded animal you are.
pound your fists against whatever earth is still holding you
and howl the names of all that has been taken from you.
call their names up from the mossy well they have been nearly forgotten in.
claw them up and back to you.
know that you are theirs. they are yours.
hold them.
open your arms wide enough for your shoulder blades to touch and wing again.
become an open door and let the light move through you.
become yourself again, these found now treasured
these bones unburied and blessed
let us weep and say at the reunion of self and self and hold
let us braid ourselves back together
let our prayers be remembered and heard
let us become ourselves again
let us become each other’s again
healed, whole, beloved.

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