I don’t know what to do with my wife’s grief,
How she clutches my shirt,
Weeps the way Eve wept for Abel,
Sorrow wild, thick as locusts.
She says grief sits in her stomach,
Fills her up like Thanksgiving dinner.
I imagine carving grief, serving it
With stuffing, black and full of onion.
I’m trying to understand
How despair works, how being alone
Is like burying her mother again.
I’m not alone, she says.
When you leave, grief crawls
Into bed with me. I can’t say no.
I can’t close my eyes, turn my back.
At night, in the dark, I lie
Next to my wife, put my arm across
Her sleeping body, feel her chest
Rise and fall, slow as a funeral.
If I press my ear to her breast,
I will hear the sound Eve made
When God introduced her to death.
-Martin Achatz, Mayapple Press