by Gail Denham

Bad night again. My mind won’t sleep.
It reels from grief which roams and pokes.
Of course my body follows, refusing
needed rest, tossing and twitching.

Only a month since Jim left. Would
it always be this bad—this painful?
I can’t be sure, but I feel as if nights
will be sleepless for a long time.

The bird gangs woke me. All morning
the crows held their daily confab. Perched,
this morning on icy limbs, they scanned,
while “caw-cawing” news of their finds.

Slowly dawn light glowed behind them,
shining through bare aspen branches. Pine
needles were tipped with colored prisms, frost
bubbles. Thawed icy drips splashed the deck.

There’ll always be a “morning after”.
This I knew, but somehow this morning
was different. I looked. I really looked
at the beauty out back, illuminating

the shed where Jim had laid in enough
wood for two winters. I watched three
chickadees trying to peck through
the thin film of ice on the water pan.

I’ll plug in the heater under the birds’
water today. I’ve lit a fire in our wood
stove. And I give thanks for the heat.
The coffee’s nearly ready. I watch the

sun creep till it touches the table where
I sit, murmuring thanks for the years Jim
and I had together. Grief can’t steal those
memories of our fun adventures, or all the joys.


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