… heal us.

By J. K. McDowell

August 2015

Our beloved Ophelia was buried today.

I was not there. Too many rats behind curtains.

Too many steak knives at the table – no breath.

Elsewhere we lost two more in a side of senseless

Violence. If these tears of grief were mindlessly

Collected I know I would drown. Please take these gifts.

Salt-water sorrows spiral with a symmetry

That provides no traction, like that black ice that sends

Us sliding through the guardrail and over the cliff.

I was already in freefall before that Thursday

Night. Now watch, all Acadie turns toward a friend,

Toward a neighbor, and yes, even toward a stranger.

We survived storms and wars and shooting and even

The panic and spurts of a broken blood feather.

Stained pages of memory cannot be cleaned.

Despite our blessings, you know that nothing is ever

The same. And please do not ask, “James, are you OK?”

Sadness and grief are not poisons – they heal us.