We like to think of overwhelming grief
as Hokusai’s great wave smashing the wooden boats below.
Our sympathy extended to the crew,
we do not pray they will escape their fate,
but only hope that shattered timbers smash the eggshell skulls
before the strangling sea invades the lungs,
scalding and inescapable,
as they try to grasp another breath.
In our imagination we can see lifeless bodies,
softened by the water and by time,
providing nourishment to scavengers
till the remains, rendered to fish shit,
descend through darkness
to merge with the abyssal plain.
But sometimes grief is just an unremitting string of ordinary losses:
familiar constellations disarticulated,
the limbs of bears and swans and heroes
scattered on a field of incoherent stars,
the driver who could spell me as I slept on the long journey
unable now to find her way alone,
shared memories reborn as fabulous chimeras,
lost words escaping broken conversations,
the hunger for the end of sentences unfinished,
the endless search for missing glasses.
Our youth wasted together our future now forever lost,
the only certainty that next year will be worse,
we meet each day, as do the huddled woodcut oarsmen,
backs bowed against a blow that never falls.
David Schnare is a retired house painter, dishwasher, used car reconditioner, cathode ray assembler, warehouse clerk, hospital orderly, and general practice physician. He has no literary degrees, no famous teachers, no patrons or admirers, and aside from a single poem, no publications. If you Google his name he can pretty much guarantee that anyone you find will be somebody else.
The Ekphrastic Review
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