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Duke Lang...yes, the cocoon of it, your "body outgrowing its own sorrow" … *

by Sarah Tsiang

Look through the sympathy cards:
pastels, oceans and clouds.
Eloquent peace, God.
Appeals to your sense
of faith.

What a poverty of words.
If I were honest, I'd tell you
that you will never get over
this grief.

You are damaged.
His death is a wide wound
that will fester. Healing means new skin,
scars, an ache in the body
when it rains, or snows, or when age sets in;
and we know more by our loss
than our remaining senses.

Every time we access a memory,
we change it.
The people we have lost
become distant echoes
of our own voices
every time we try to name them.

We make poor copies
of those we loved.

What's left to us are those copies,
hundreds of tattered revisions.
torn pages, over and over again,
his face, his face, his face.

Cover of Status Update

This poem is from Sarah Tsiang's most recent collection Status Update (2013).  You can find her other works of poetry in the KFPL collection. 

*This unattributed quotation in the title is taken from a Susan Musgrave poem, "One-Sided Woman", which can be found in her collection, What The Small Day Cannot Hold (2000).

The Poetry Blackboard showcases poems curated by Kingston's Poet Laureate, Helen Humphreys, and written by Kingston poets. There's a new poem every month, written by poets living and dead, historical and contemporary, published and unpublished, adults and children, giving full range to the cultural voice of Kingston.

See all of the poems previously published on The Poetry Blackboard