Seven years ago today Eric died, on a glorious, sun-drenched day. The forsythia was blazing, warm air drifted through the open windows and the maple buds were dropping their red skin to let the green leaves out.
Six years ago I wrote this poem, on another day of spring sunshine, the forsythia bushes in the neighborhood bringing me full circle to the season of loss. Finally, I was understanding Eric was really gone, and that holding on to life, while honoring his loss, might just be possible. “Razor Life” is the penultimate poem in The Truth About Death. It’s not an easy poem, it’s not an easy book, but it’s the truth as I lived it. A sister poet recently reviewed the book on Amazon and Goodreads and said “grief is palpable, yes, but so is the skill of the poet . . . this is not a romantic look at death, but rather a blunt and powerfully raw assessment.”
That assessment now includes knowing the rawness of grief does ease, the razor edge softens, and days march on and on whether we can keep up with their beauty or not. A few days ago I came upstairs to find a swallow flapping in front of the big windows in my study, the room where Eric died. It had flown in the small opening of our shaded bedroom window and moved towards the light. David helped it fly out without any harm.
I still watch swallows against the sky and the cows are already out in the pasture across the road. Everything changes; so many essentials stay the same.
The pastures are green again, right on cue,
the cows will be out in days. I steal lost time
to meet you, where the train runs into the river,
it’s dark and we move fast, forsythia flashes
gold in our yard, the neighbors’ yard, the bush
in the cemetery on the hill, the catbird who sang
above the blooming lilac in the weeks of desperation
on the porch after you died, you died, you did,
swallows high in the blue, their bellies white
as they turn. I am back to watching the sky,
we still have a car for everyone, we drive a lot,
I talk all the time, the machine is working,
it’s everything will be okay and ah fuck
at the same time, all the time, my razor life.