He had been 'reading' for
As long as he could remember.
His mother's voice was soothing to his ears
As it washed over them in a soft, murmuring tone.
A tone that was betrayed almost every time
Due to her excitement.
Her voice carried over the situations,
Dancing out a literary waltz on the ripe pages
That wafted the smell of old and new parchment.
Her ink-stained fingers would skirt across the page as she read,
Making it easier for his tiny eyes to follow along
—though he never did.
The distinct, dark curves and dips of the letters
Had no bearing on him.
His attention was on her.
When his mom spoke
It didn't matter who it was to;
Everyone listened with rapt interest.
Her voice flowed like liquid silk, charismatic and
Bursting with an elegant refinement that demanded attention.
He honestly couldn’t even remember one story
That she used to read to him while putting him to bed
—never mind the fact that he had begged for one every night
Just to hear her voice.
Just to hear the warmth
That she exuded so rawly in just her voice
Wash over him and kiss him goodnight by itself.
Just to feel completely encompassed by love and security.
And then, while he was blissfully unawares
And enveloped in the laughter of his closest friends,
The voice that he had cherished vanished.
All of a sudden, there were no sweet murmurings
Of love and promises of happiness to help him drift off to sleep.
There was no voice forming shapeless words
That he hadn't bothered to recognize.
There was no presence that loomed over him protectively
Before planting a warm kiss on his forehead
Just as he was on the cusp of unconsciousness.
There was no her.
Because she was dead.
He had been ‘grieving’
For as long as he could remember,
Unable to come to terms with the loss
That permeated the depths of his soul.
But he found her everywhere;
She was in the trees,
Dancing along to the flowing harmonies of the wind,
Drifting words down to him along with the
Crushed and dried by winter’s
Skimming along the books
That he had ignored,
He could still find her in every letter
In every page that he glimpsed himself.
Every syllable of every word bespoke of her.
Her voice danced in his dreams,
Forming imaginary tales that flitted
Behind his lids closed in REM sleep.
And when his eyes found themselves
Irrevocably drawn to the mirror, as
Time saw fit to caress his features,
He could find her in the curve of his lips,
The shape of his nose,
And the mist of his breath as he whispered
Words of loneliness and longing
That would evaporate as soon as they were uttered.
Because wherever words manifested
He would find her.
She had become words themselves to him,
Manifesting wherever she desired.
Gone but never truly.
She had redefined the very meaning of
Reading and writing from the moment
He first heard her voice
And continued to do so
After the melodic whispers had become
And he would speak novels about her,
Using the darkly sloping and slanting
Spindly bodies born from the ink of his pen,
In numerous languages to numerous people.
His mother was forever written in his brain
And he would forever write her into others.
He would change the way that we grieve,
Would delicately and necessarily weave the cure in
With the predated disease that plagues us all,
Would birth a silver lining drenched with and drowning in tar
As it struggles to find its light and stay afloat.
The hindrance that grief presents—
The way that it weighs down our frames with exhausting lead
And defeats the proud set to our bodies with fists that
Seem all too lucid—
Is something to be conquered
By the very ones who find their wills liquidated by it.
That boy who secretly and silently cried for his mother,
That elderly man who lost a spouse
Before his own time had come,
That girl whose brother died fighting for a country
She no longer could bear to be in without him,
And the weeping mother that had a child torn
From her very soul;
If change could lend them a hand
And show them how to turn their grief
Around and use it as precious fuel
To burn on, perhaps even brighter than before,
Life would be different by leaps and bounds
Now that acceptance would have made lasting, but tender roots
In their painfully afflicted minds.
For death is unchangeable,
Its hand ghosting along an immeasurable
Amount of people and spiriting them away.
Now, if only the people left drowning behind
Could force that hand into the temporal world
And, with a failing but quivering strength,
Use it to pull themselves up.