~~click here for a pdf of this poem to share~~

GRIEF                                                                  

by Patricia McKernon Runkle

Grief is a room, invisible.

   You are pushed into it.

      For a while, it is the only

         room in your house.

 

You stumble around.

   No lights. No clocks.

      No windows.

         Empty.

 

When darkness is dark enough—

   enough!—you cross

      the threshold, return

         to the visible world.

 

Dust on your desk,

   on the fruit bowl.

      Kitchen. Remember to eat.

         Living room. Agree to talk.

 

When dust chafes

   your living skin,

      you’ll step outside.

         Sun and wind will be at play

 

and you’ll find yourself smiling.

   Really, I mean find yourself— 

      you’ve been lost all this time.

 

You have the whole place back now,

   but that room will always be there,

      and the door will always be open.


~~click here for a pdf of this poem to share~~

 WHEN YOU MEET SOMEONE

 DEEP IN GRIEF

by Patricia McKernon Runkle

     Slip off your needs

     and set them by the door.

 

     Enter barefoot

     this darkened chapel

 

     hollowed by loss

     hallowed by sorrow

 

     its gray stone walls

     and floor.

 

     You, congregation

     of one

 

     are here to listen

     not to sing.

 

     Kneel in the back pew.

     Make no sound,

 

    let the candles

    speak.