Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralysed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
Every season is more than itself alone;
Each moment and slow passage of time
Has a twin. Feeling bleak and daunted
All this grey Easter long—doing grief’s
Work, as it’s best done, alone—I caught
In the mirror, more than once, a man
So much lighter than the man I’d been
Hauling about, like a burlap sack
Of granite, like four decades of dropped
Anchors, and he put me in mind, this other
Self, of a goshawk making ready for flight.
And for a moment, that’s stretched
Into a week, I flew, too (thankful for
The mirror and the doubleness of things).
Sometimes one’s flown the cage, already,
That holds one in. One heals by bearing
The pain and all the days one’s left behind;
One heals by setting them aside. Inside
The stone, there’s light; inside the heft
And harrow of all you’ve lost, a flight
That aches for air. The soul wants,
First, to clench and then to spread its
Fingers. Love is made of feathers and of
Bone—and healing has the habit of wings.