Another Poem About Grief

Katrina Kaye

Stop trying  to be strong.
You do not have to make vows or resolutions or promises.
You do not have to put on a brave face.
You do not have to be patient or kind or tough.
All you have to do is allow the reality of the events to wash over you.

You will have the rest of your life
to learn how to live again,
to become the person you used to be,
or a new stronger version of your former self,
for now, survive, in any way you can.

The days won’t stop,
no matter how you may wish them to do so.
Time doesn’t stop for a broken heart,
although we wish it would,
although it feels like it might.

You do not have to listen to their
sympathies if it does do not suit you.
Be silent. Be alone.
If conversation doesn’t provide comfort,
let the calls go unanswered.
You have nothing to prove.

Let the coffee grow cold in the mug.
Look for him in the familiar places.
Reach out to his side of the bed.
Collect the pictures, all of them you can find.
Leave the television on so that you can chase off the silence.
So you feel less alone. So it can lull you to sleep.

Your armor and shield have been taken from you.
Feel shock, feel helpless, feel overwhelmed.
Feel nothing at all, if that is what it takes.

Your world will not be rebuilt in a day,
A week, a year. It will not be rebuilt the same.
It will never be the same. Nothing will.

Learn how to breathe without him beside you.
Learn how to speak to a man who will not be able to answer.
Learn to walk on your own.
There is no rush. The world will wait.
There is time.

For now,
grieve in whatever way suits you.
Survive the day, hour by hour,
survive the hour, minute by minute,
second by second.
The world will continue.
All you must do is survive,
survive, survive, survive.

Goodnight, Sun

Miraculous
colors crashed
into the horizon.
Fire ablazed
and the sun burned.
The air was silent.
It’s stillness
perfectly
held my heartbeat
between God’s hands.

Goodnight, Sun.

Until next time.


I have been inspired by the sunsets lately and inspired to write
tiny odes to each.


Remembering 9.11, then on Monday, 9.12.2022, I learned of a colleague’s sudden death. On 9.13.2022, it was my mom’s one year anniversary of her death from a battle with breast cancer. I also learned my cousin is battling cancer this week.

Today, I wonder why I am so tired. Grief is exhausting.

Goodnight, Sun.

Be kind to yourself, and today is precious.

Poem and photograph by Gina Marselle

Published, September 17, 2022

Silence

Katrina Kaye

Silence sat
still on the
corner of
cheekbone
and 12th street.

It goes unnoticed,
defies the wind,
flits the skin,
begging recognition.

It is the same
silence that
barricades the
veins with oversized
platelets causing
the heart
to cease a beat.

Creating a moment
of complete
stillness between
our bodies until

with the tip of finger
eyelash is removed
and with pursed lips,
blown away.

Sunset

by Gina Marselle

The beauty of a sunset
is that it doesn’t wait for you.
If you wait a minute too long—
poof, gone.
Then you have to hope
for another chance, another day.
So don’t delay.
Take the time now.
Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Photo of the sunset taken by the poet on 8.6.2022 around 8:10 PM

Follow me on Instagram @musings_by_gina

T H I R T Y – T W O

I’m surprised to see you;
after the lifetimes this stretched-out skin
—this hive-of-busysadangry-bees mind
—these over-firing neurons
—these pulled-too-tight and SNAP! strands DNA
have seen.

Thirty-two.
In eight more years, I will be exactly twice the age as my eldest daughter
—or, “her daughter is half her age;”
she’s
“too young to look that old;”
“a baby with a baby;”
…infantilized constantly.

Told I’m too young to feel this tired.
But newborn children must sleep for seventeen hours
and maybe it’s because the world is too little and too much,
all at once such a wondrous blur but I saw a colour in nature I’d never seen before and it made me hyperventilate
and there’s a train building up speed five miles away and sometimes I think about laying on the tracks, just to see just to see
and a jet-engine is roaring and I think how often does an airplane crash into bedrooms at night
and is it always a moment of sad, desperately sobbed prayers answered or
does everybody feel the world moving in their veins?

Thirty-two,
who even are you?

A ghost
A child
A mother
A sister
A sister
A sister-
in-arms.

Thirty-two;
I’m surprised to see you.

But I wouldn’t run towards you, hopeful,
if I didn’t believe every year of you has been worth it,
and the next eight, or thirty-two, or (if I’m lucky) sixty,
will be as beautiful
as Just This:

Thirty-two,
I see you.

Taken at Carden’s Cove in Marathon, Ontario on the coast of Lake Superior on the poet’s birthday, July 17, 2022.

Hot

Katrina Kaye

It’s a hot night.

A walk around in bra
and cut off jeans night.

A what I wouldn’t give
for refrigerated air night.

The kind that leaves
sweat on abdomen.

Beads of moisture
around hairline.

The kind of night
that makes me crave

a cold beer to press
on heated flesh,

a swirl of cigarette smoke
over my head.

It would be a good night
for honest conversation,

for philosophy and poetry
and genuine laughter,

for being close to the
heat of another body,

but far enough to not
burn from the touch.

I lick my teeth
and raise my chin.

I transform
animal, untamed, restless.

I am eager
to turn off the lights,

certain I will
glow in the dark.

Calculation of Water

The smell of rain on dry dirt 

is a measurement of drought. 

Away from the desert, we don’t 

talk about drought as much. We’re 

concerned about it, but at a distance. 

I make vanilla rooibos tea 

with kettle water on mornings

when the air isn’t pushed down 

by humidity. One common mistake 

is to believe there’s no problem here 

with water. Distance is fallacy 

when we talk about there being 

almost two-thousand miles between 

the open-mouthed cooler now full

of collected brown tea water 

that we left out on the deck this past week 

and fire smoke hovering over thirsty 

desert land, prayers in flames. 

Make a map for me where your tea water

sits on your stove all the way to my kettle, 

the land where you are and the land 

where I am. Fill up the kettle 

with rainwater. Fill up the kettle 

with water from river. I’m not even sure 

what the river would say to this.

The equation for rain is the absence 

of all the car exhaust. I read 

about fish being filled up 

with anti-depressants, heart meds, 

other pharmaceuticals. Fish water 

is the length of the water for my tea, 

the depth of yours. Every day the rain 

is ours, even if we go without.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Break Up Poem

Katrina Kaye

legs
bare
brown
smooth
to touch
can’t help
but watch
as they
walk away

ridiculous
the way
your lips taste
there is too
much gratitude
to be bitter

I gather
strength upon
back bone
desperate
to get the
tune right
to lure
you
to me

the smell of
your air
is rotten
is familiar
is perhaps
the same as
my own

don’t leave
this town
not yet
chance is still
hanging on
your words
unlocked
headlights
in the rain

I try
to love you
better

The Fatigue

By Gina Marselle

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” ~Louisa May Alcott

The fatigue is real.
Inevitable,
like a ship sinking
or falling red wood.

My eyelids must close.
Even as I write.
I have to stop.
Place my pen down.

On the pillow
my head caves.
My body curves
into a fetal position.

Meds to high.
Meds to low.
Autoimmune
has a mind of her own.

Sadly, they come in pairs.
With marching orders:
“Take her down.”
“Be invisible so others don’t know.”

Napping is for babies.
But I am a mother of a 22 year old,
A nine year old. Nap I must.
Why does my body betray?

I sit so quiet. Eyes closed.
Meditate like still clouds in the sky.
I am the storm.
Wounded, but not defeated.

Fighting for a quality of life
that is more than
one foot in the grave.
That isn’t lead by anxiety & depression.

It is always exhausting—
to the point I am just alone.
No one wants to be around that doom.
It’s okay! Look away.

Turn the page. Walk away.
Forgotten–
like desert dust
after a monsoon.

I am not offended.
I don’t even want
to do anything anyway.
I may cancel our planned coffee date.

I may call to just cry.
There is nothing you can do,
but I sure appreciate
just knowing you care.


>Did you know:

“Nearly 4% of the world’s population is affected by one of more than 80 different autoimmune diseases, the most common of which include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and scleroderma.

National Institutes for Health (NIH) estimates that they collectively affect between 5% and 8% percent of the U.S. population. For unknown reasons, the prevalence of autoimmune diseases is increasing.”

>Personal Note:
I am personally still learning about my disease. It took 14 years to finally get diagnosed with Hashimoto just 12 weeks ago. It is suspect that I have another autoimmune disease and will find out this week after other blood work.

I am sharing my story because people with invisible diseases or disorders often suffer alone. It’s sad and horrible. It is also difficult to get out and be around people. I also have severe anxiety and depression (depression comes and goes, maybe affected by Hashimoto and my mother’s death). Newly diagnosed with PTSD. Suffering from GI issues, it is challenging to find health. I have stayed silent for the most part, minue close friends and family. Sometimes it feels like just complaints, and humans don’t want to listen to complaints, especially without hope.


Image from:
https://www.quotemaster.org/autoimmune+disease

Some Kind of Hero

Without a cape,
he flies.
Boundless love,
holding my heart
in his eyes.
He waits for my cue.
And he walks beside,
or follows with humbleness.
A gentle nudge or hug—
exactly what I need.
While he breathes,
I’ll never be alone.
My German Shepherd Dog,
never one more brave.
While I sleep, he guards.
Loving and loyal, his lifelong love
selflessly gifted to me.

~gina marselle

Follow my service dog in training, Beowulf, on Instagram: @be_like_wulf_gsd.

Beowulf. 6.5 months old #servicedogintraining