A Suitable Period of Mourning

I do not have a closet
full of mourning clothes
I have never
inked the names of my dead
on my tender forearms
in solemn homage
the list too long
my arms too short
to box with God
I am a motherless child
who grieved too long
for the comfort of others
left me wondering if grief
is considered contagious
a virus?
what is the suitable period of mourning
for loss of my identity
as daughter?
as granddaughter?
we do not mention pregnancy losses
as if they don’t count
don’t matter
as though the hopes
the dreams
we embraced
for those little balls of cells
were weightless
mere dandelion fluff
in the breeze
we are left
standing alone
in contemplation
of our empty arms
is a man who never held his breathing child
still a father?
a widowed woman still a wife?
a boy who has lost his twin still a brother?
who are we when those we love are lost
and all that remains are their empty shapes on our soul
like Peter Pan’s shadow?

© 2017 Revised © 2019 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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