When they dig into the earth, geologically,
the lines and layers speak their trauma.
Floods and fires, apocalyptic damage
showing itself in the thickness, debris,
lean lines and layers of scarred soil.
My grandfather taught me about the rings
on trees, the drought years and hard fought
survival ines showing in the width of the ring.
Natural growth stunted, thinner. This carrying
within its core, growth circles of pain and plenty.
I wonder at the trauma rings of humans —
slice me open in some way, split my center,
dig down the half of me in layers —
The hours of grief, the days of joy.
How deep each layer or how thin?
Slice me open, split my center
study me as the land or tree,
point the place of catastrophic growth —
line, ring, width, depth, expanding
into the archaeology of being human.
We are a million hours of time
away from the boy who wrote
poems and drew pictures --
and the girl so excited to read them,
to know him, to love him.
Those children lost in the fogs
of doing adulthood --
The Serious Business of Living --
That Delusion --
Teaching them to hide away
in the dark shadows -- alone.
Grief is a selfish master.
His remembering what is lost
always living that past image.
The dearness of it roots the tears,
forces the chest to grow upward
in swelling pain.
We grieve the possibility
that died. The honesty we forsook.
We grieve what could have been
if we were other than we are.
We grieve the hours spent believing
we could be anything and everything
to each other -- those doors
always closing in silence, the noise
of our breaking heart the only sound
left echoing through the room.