It’s time to talk about grief
as if the mere mention could
crack the sky leaving the stars
to break through shattering
As if at a preordained hour
all the lovers of the world
will stand still, like the minute
of remembrance for the dead,
then turn and walk from each other
trailing a scent different for each couple,
here a trace of anise, there the gnarled
root of wild ginseng known to help
the memory and cheer the heart.
Each man shaped by what ails him:
a bad liver, a jaw housing neglected teeth.
For the woman the signs more subtle,
a hand’s slight tremor, an eye that wanders
at dusk like the last cow in pasture.
There is no possibility of resolution,
only the remnants of torn silk and a
tweed cap dropped on a railroad platform.
First published in the Greensboro Review, Winter 95-96.
Carol V. Davis is the author of “Between Storms” (Truman State University Press, 2012). She won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for “Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg,” 2007.