A Suitable Period of Mourning

Christine Elizabeth Ray offers a poem of mourning and memory.

Brave & Reckless

I do not have a closet

full of mourning clothes

I have never

inked the names of my dead

on my tender forearms in black

in solemn homage

The list too long

My arms too short

to box with god

 

I am a motherless child

who grieved

too long

for the comfort of others

Left me wondering if grief

is considered contagious

a virus?

What is the suitable period of mourning

for loss of my identity

as daughter?

as granddaughter?

 

We do not mention pregnancy losses

As if they don’t count

don’t matter

as though the hopes

the dreams

we embraced for those little balls of cells

were weightless

mere dandelion fluff

in the breeze

We are left

standing alone

in contemplation

of our empty arms

 

Is a man who never held his breathing child still

a father?

A widowed woman still a wife?

A boy who…

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