Lisa Summe

I fold my grief into a bird, admire it, but no matter

how I fold it, how I try to make it into something else,

it still began as grief. It is what it is.

I crumple up my grief and it’s a smooth toss

from kitchen table to trashcan. I throw away what was

once beautiful. The smoothness of your hair

in the amusement park parking lot, of your leg

touching mine before the rollercoaster went up the first hill.

One way to keep something forever is to keep it forever.

My grief is in the trashcan, but still lives here. My grief pays no

rent, comes and goes as it pleases, even when I try to confine it

to here or there. My grief takes and takes and my grief

brings it all back. The smell of pine every December

and I miss you. The perfume I bought you that Christmas

called Unbreakable and I left you. They say if you love something,

set it free. I say if it comes back as everything but itself,

that’s grief, that’s this big old bird. I stick my hand in the trashcan,

refold the thing, open my window. You are a bird, I say.

Get out of my house. The wind is really going.

I put my heart into the bird. It is inevitable

the way we put our hearts into what we make. My grief

is out the window. Come back, I say.

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