Comfort Measure #5 by Cheryl Snell

Comfort Measure #5

Because my brain hurts, I’ll focus
on the body. I’ll applaud its machines,
the way they stick but then recover ─
as when the breath held captive in the dark
reconsiders death and bursts from the mouth,
spittling champagne bubbles. We must always
celebrate something. I’ll toast with this bottle
of fake tears, which lets me continue crying
at the place where my grief left off.

Because we never run out of sorrow
I’ll roll through these bright halls knowing
no one is safe. This wheelchair can’t outrun
disease, speeding up so that time itself
goes backward, however much the woman
in the next room would like that. She’s calling
for her mother again, but doesn’t believe in
the notion there is no death. She remembers
blossoms blooming only to wither.
Once she told me she was sure they dream of water
and the taste of air.

by Cheryl Snell

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Editor’s Note: Grief is deceptively complex, and the poems I have been receiving recently are all true, and all completely different, even as the pain remains the same. This poem uses blunt, brilliant imagery to convey the difficulty of functioning with grief as an ever-present companion.