When grief spills over.

by Poet on the Piano   Dec 19, 2021

This morning, I could not properly bottle
my thoughts. I had no place to sit down,
nowhere sturdy, just the sight of waves
rolling over in small efforts to converse -
titanium white foam like fractured spines.

The skyline of Chicago loomed in the
distance, an omen perhaps, or a reminder
that the world expands, the horizon painting
an illusion of infinity despite my inability
to understand how my life can continue.

Part of me wanted to fade into the background.
At first light, no one was watching, one of the
few sunny days that hadn't reached freezing point.

There was no lifeguard to pass,
no strangers to worry about.

Everything shimmered in a way that kept
me standing, heightening my senses and
filling me with wonder instead of washing
over and dulling my emotions.

The smooth, wet stones.
The tiny shells buried in the sand
that I tried to step around.

Now, in the late afternoon,
the clouds have swallowed my sun.
The water does not glisten.
The blue is not as deep, its faces
and angles steel with tinges of sea green.

I wrote your name in the sand, three times.
I'll do it more often, I promise.

I will drive back, muscles aching,
111 miles away, having conquered
the anxiety of new places,
new landscapes that don't feature you.

What else can I say?
You would have adored it here,
though not during the onset of winter.
No, I would take you on a cool summer day,
when the sand wouldn't burn your feet
and the beaches would have more space
for you to run, run, run
until our lungs would plead for us to rest.

We'd chase each other and think of nothing
but the wholeness of this moment.

There would be no second guessing our footsteps.
We'd make imprints in the sand, light and agile,
okay with the lake sharing our joys and lapping
up any traces of who we were becoming.

But those are memories that will never happen.

I return to the present; it's cold and windy,
the wet sand clings to all the limbs and
heartaches I've tried so desperately to hide.

I wonder if I should have let the shore muddy
this note, let the winds fight over ownership,
or if I should have fed it to the hungry waves,

but they wouldn't have wanted that.

You wouldn't have wanted that.

Just like if I had disappeared into the seemingly
endless horizon, among the miniature tidal waves,
the barely detectable movements of a soul
wondering when and how to let go,

nothing would have changed.

You wouldn't have come back.

There would be no magic touching the edges
of my vision and no guarantee of where I would end up.
If I would turn into an unreachable echo
or if someone would have saved me.

I can't decipher how long the thought intrudes,
how many seconds I pause and analyze
the truth that no one would find me in time
if I left everything behind and ventured forward,
and yet, I return home, after braving more
walks along the shore, letting myself bask
in the wonder of not knowing and simply

I leave the dunes with no answers, no great epiphany,
no sudden knowledge of what I should do with my life
now that you're gone,

but I also leave with a secure moment of peace.

Even if I can't recall it as strongly now,
even though the waters feel too far away
to rush past me with the mystical power
of assessing my own mortality,

I am here, and I kept walking, and I
felt the strain in my legs trudging through
the piles of sand and grief,

and I,

kept going.


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Latest Comments

  • 2 years ago

    by silvershoes

    This is one of the greatest poems I’ve ever read. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. I’m in tears. I’ll come back to this often, I already know.

  • 2 years ago

    by Elizabeth

    Beautiful and familiar, the Chicago shoreline necessitates somber reflections and gives nothing satisfying in return.

  • 2 years ago

    by Rayven

    Instant favorite from me.

  • 2 years ago

    by Star

    I had a song playing in my mind like a background music to this. So I had to read it again while listening to the song, if you want to listen:

    I’m really glad to see this nominated :)

    • 2 years ago

      by Poet on the Piano

      I meant to reply sooner but thank you! And I know of Seafret, mostly from their song "Oceans", but I used to have their album on one of my indie playlists. I just listened to "To the Sea" and paid attention to the lyrics especially. It's so beautiful. Thanks for sharing that link :)

    • 2 years ago

      by Star

      Love that song too :)
      Congrats on your win!!!

  • 2 years ago

    by Shruti

    I love this so much! Thank you for sharing, it's beautiful.

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