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Grief Poems and Essays

Grief Seed

(by Tiffany Sankofa)

Hard seed

ground deep

into Mother Earth

thrust and crushed in;

the impression

of the boot

lingers.

 

Hard seed

protects itself from

the cold surrounding it;

the swirling memory of what

once was.

 

The sky waters it

with Her tears

softening the outer shell

calling to something 

buried

deep within,

something green

tender

new,

   and terrifying.

 

Hard shell holds 

tighter – 

No no no no!

No more vulnerability;

Unable to contemplate

more change

more unpredictability

more pain.

 

But the water keeps coming

and the shell keeps softening.

 

Fear turns to rage

as the seed rails 

against all

that has happened,

and not happened.

Mournful cries

of no no no no

burst forth

in a fiery screaming shriek

of 

NNNNNOOOOOOOOO!!!!

 

The passion and pain 

drive her energy

up, through, 

the fingers of Mother Earth

who lovingly protects her journey.

 

Mother Earth chants

in rhythm with the 

once hard seed’s scream;

No no no

met with 

Yes yes yes 

 

The seed

hurtles upward

crashing and breaking

the once hard-now soft 

crust of dirt.

 

Mother Earth’s chants

massage the

new green shoot

screaming its way

toward the 

healing warmth 

of the Sun.

She Missed Her Birthday Again

(by Tiffany Sankofa)

Ma!

You missed your birthday again.

It’s the 8th time.

I guess you don’t need them anymore.

 

You always were

trying to simplify.

What could be better

feng shui

than not being stuck

in a body at all?

 

Well played, holl.

Well played.

 

Now

I am free to love you

Fiercely

without the sting

of necessary losses.

 

You probably no longer care

that I pierced my nose

that I outswear 

the USMC

that I’m wilde and passionate and 

unapologetic in my 

perfectly flawed ways.

 

Now

I am free to

dwell 

in the

order, liturgy,

gentleness, quiet

where you could

feel

your connectedness

to all.

 

We meet together

in ethereal whimsy

in the spaces in between

in the quiet beats

when i remember to notice

or when you convince 

a mocking bird

to follow and harass me.

 

We meet together

in ancestral circles

in our dedicated plot

to overthrow the planet

with crazy things like

Mutuality

Respect

Compassion

Open-hearted hospitality 

And Love.

 

All things in a circle.

 

We have both 

dropped our shoulds

our have to’s

our musts.

We have shed 

the roles we held

this time around,

returning to

simple souls

twined up together,

walking through 

the muck and the mystery

together 

as it always has been.

 

May I borrow 

Your Happy Birthday? 

I mean,

you aren’t using it.

 

I’ll send up some 

yellow balloons,

notice some

simple flowers,

amplify and support

a tender, muted voice,

go find 

some Mischief 

to sprinkle

in your honor,

saturated

with gratitude.

 

And while it is

likely irrelevant

to you, now,

in my still limited way

of celebrating 

A L L

that the subtle dash

reverently holds:

holly elaine mueller (willis) slaugh

December 4, 1939 ~ September 4, 2014