The living after the dying

 

 

The week you died, I wrote a bitter poem, a terrible, ugly, shameful poem, made of rage and rage only. A poem about my private calendar, the one in which the only dates are days for grieving, days I oughtn’t need a calendar to remember, a calendar that frightens me: it grows so full. I was too angry at you to keep the words in, and so I wrote them out, but I knew enough about loss to know this would be a secret, silent, forever unseen poem. Because the anger would die too, and the grief would rise and peak and fall away, and eventually I wouldn’t think about you every day. Eventually I would drive down That Street without turning my head to the left to look at the building to the west of me, would choose to look away instead, and eventually I would drive down That Street and not keep looking straight ahead, eyes on the road, forcing myself not to look to my left, but instead would pay attention to the traffic with the idea of you and the un-looked-at building sitting somehow passenger in my empty car, and eventually I would drive down That Street and not only forget to look, and forget not to look, but forget to remember; I’d be grateful for the calendar then, grateful I kept that poem – just another version of the calendar – silent, grateful for the record of days I oughtn’t need a calendar to remember, but thankfully, thankfully do.

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