its own living thing
vast and disparate as the kingdom
of birds

and you only left behind
your dog-eared Audubon’s

I identify the loss by the
flutey voice of those small-bodied
flutterers that weigh nothing
for their hollow bones

My dreams grackle me awake
with the frantic monkey chatter
of the lesser auks we saw
from the prow of the ship

It was so cold you gave me
your shawl

Sunrise greets my bed with
crow’s necromancy chant

The jays carry on parallel lives
to my hens so I forget they are forged
in the same feathery mold

but how they might fight
for the same grubs

I have read
that insects make up half the weight
of all alive things on earth. We a fraction
of that. Then to account for grief

something so heavy only a hummingbird’s
tenth of an ounce. Physics’ spooky
action at a distance. And when
we’re only half alive we weigh
only that much

I crave your soft nightgowned weight
animating your rocking chair

Your looking glass sits by it still.
So still even the whipoorwhil
quiets its seeking in the dark

My grief is a swift
on the wing all the time.
Ten months the record
and I might break it yet

9 Comments

  1. Meg Tuite

    Hi Sara!
    This, this, animates grief ‘its own living thing’ through the ‘dog-eared Audubon’s’ ‘vast and disparate as the kingdom of birds’
    love your use of ‘grackle, jays, hens, hummingbirds ‘ and how ‘insects make up half the weight’ (I didn’t know that) and yet with the deep heaviness of grief we still don’t bear the weight…
    This is fierce and fragile and a force!
    My only suggestion: ‘monkey chatter’ took me out of the land of birds and insects, and I know you could find a bird or insect to use here that would also make it uniquely your own!
    LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! You are a fire pink flamingo!

    • Sara Comito

      Thank you, sweet Meg! Definitely going to consider that change. I appreciate your reading and everything you’ve done for us this weekend and always!!! Sorry so late getting this piece up. I had to nap on it… Grateful to everyone this weekend. Big love. And I will practice standing on one flamingo leg. xoxo

  2. Koss Just Koss

    Wonderful grief poem . . . Love “My dreams grackle me awake” but agree with Meg about the monkeys. The light-weighted birds and insects speak to the fragility of existence. Only other suggestion is that maybe “And when
    we’re only half alive we weigh
    only that much” is too literal. Might be another way to convey this. But overall, it’s a splendid piece.

    • Sara Comito

      Thank you, Koss! I appreciate your careful reading and suggestions. So nice working with you this weekend.

  3. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Sara, I love and enjoy the aviary aspects of this poem, and all of its nouns/verbs being flying as birds elements. YAY! BIRDS!

    As a suggestion, perhaps play with the layout? Might try a prose poem block, then see where you want the air to be “let in?” Still overall, what a beauty, as this entire weekend has been. WOWSAH!

  4. Aimee Parkison

    This poem is a beauty! As so many others have said, you had me at “My dreams grackle me awake”–amazing use of language!!!!

  5. Todd Clay Stuart

    Sara, I love the musicality in this, its sounds, the voice, the tone, the way the narrator takes on grief and yet tries to distract herself from it with scientific facts. Wonderful work!

  6. Jacqueline Doyle

    Love the use of “grackle” as a verb, and concrete specificity of the “dog-eared Audobon’s,” the birds’ “hollow bones” contrasted with the weight of grief and the heavy absence in the rocking chair. Beautiful.

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