Porsche Garrett


Grief was something that lived voraciously.
Skittering from toe-tip, to stomach, to scalp.
Scratch-clawed and feral with a mouth wide-gaping,
it licked salt from my veins and with its talons tore
chunks from my liver, again and again and again.
At night, it sang to me with a scream
that rumbled out low from my own moaning lips,
and made itself a fine nest from my aortas, curling up
to sleep its vivid nightmares in twitching fits and starts.

It was a scared and skittish thing, unwanted and unloved.
A dog kicked and bit by my own steel-toed boots.
It was viscous gore clogging up my pores
that I spent hours pinching out between my calloused fingers
until my face puffed red like a riot of wasp stings.

It was something I saw in the lightning veins
sprouting from my temple and the Tartarus pits of my eyes.
I begged it to leave, but grief made its home in my ribcage,
and I must live where it lives.

On our porch, we sit together.
Curmudgeonly in its aging, it growls when I get too close
and I still flinch when it crawls too near.
We look at each other, we look away.
We watch the sunset and the birds that fly off,
disappearing into the jeweled sky.
We sip bitter tea and rock back and forth in our chairs
wearing our silence like an old shawl.
With the grudging acknowledgement
of two foes who have never gained ground,
Grief and I grow old together.