I study lists of emotions that we all feel but lack names to express.
I imagine the person who wrote it, how they woke early with a strange
buzz in their ears and after checking the burners and lights,
understood—no one else is going to do this, so I must.
What enterprise it took to pin down the word for being tucked
inside of a warm, dry house during a storm,
or a single utterance that holds the sense of sadness in a person
that they won’t live to see the future.
How do you name a vastness caved in?
I take the words that someone cuffed together and whisper them
to you in sleep. I’ve been practicing
with ravens and crows as if elocution is what it will take
to reach this place you are in.
When people ask how you are doing, I will say kuebiko—
the kind of consuming exhaustion that follows tragedy.
I will tell them how you’ve tried to catch each
leaf before it unclutches the branch,
to study the architecture in hopes of gluing them back into place—
but each leaf that has fallen was gnawed differently—
some by wind, others teeth. My love, when you come home
with empty hands, you will say alone to mean exulansis—
in that you might give up talking about your experience because
I cannot relate. Inevitably, I will flail trying.
Maybe that is the most human thing of all. If I could, I would
scrap the wind together, so that when you hop on your bike
to outpace anger, and that roar hits your ears, you will hear,
you are enough, despite.
Megan Merchant‘s latest book, Grief Flowers, is available through Glass Lyre Press.