Threshold by Elise Hempel


When does the recent past become
the distant past, when does a loss –
still new, unreal – begin to cross
into memory’s catacombs?

How many months create the door
through which the daze and doubt of grief
pass and slacken to belief,
and then a steady faith? How long before

your silent room – unbroken sun
on an empty sill, the stripped bed –
is just a scene, I glance instead
of stepping in?

by Elise Hempel

Editor’s Note: This poem uses fragments of meter and rhyme to portray the loss of a loved one. The yearning for peace instead of grief can be a frustrating journey.