Grief’s (surreal) Dream

His whispers first caress
her body’s field
like apple blossoms
covered in bees.

And then,
she sees flames come,
come licking scarlet vines
across his back,
commemorating sleep’s inevitability,
vicious and unforgiving.

A severed pair expects
no spare moments,
no moments to share
behind a smoke

Until . . .

Save me in bits, she prays.

His screams strike might
like irons against time’s silent crescendo,
while her heated flesh whispers
and wakes her
to the dizzying scent
of apple blossoms buzzing.

Brenda Warren 2014

This one came rather quickly. It is not autobiographical, but grief imagined. There is a lot left unsaid. My imagination fills it with story, and I hope yours hooks into the piece, too.

I used “strike” instead of “struck.”

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river of change

Singing provides a place for grief to move
through the thousand thunderous memories
that flash in bits and pieces
pulsing pictures of your son’s short life—
toothy grins and tomato soup,
grass stained whisperings,
your spit smudging dirt
from his soft pink cheek.

Days count themselves empty
since children and teachers lay crumpled
in red pools of dying self
on December 14.

As the media dish moves beyond Sandy Hook,
singing pulses its balm through crowds
massing movement through hearts,
transforming pain through prayers
that carry messages of love.

Your voices move like a river carving channels
through the spirit of our land,
creating conduits for hope’s flowing grace.

Brenda Warren 2013

Francine and David Wheeler lost six year old Ben in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. This piece is my response to an interview with Francine, David, and Peter Yarrow (from Peter, Paul and Mary) on Bill Moyer’s show, Moyers & Company. You can see the show in its entirety here. The video above is Francine Wheeler and Dar Williams singing Family. It makes me cry every time.

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