This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from Through a Grainy Landscape by Millicent Borges Accardi, released by New Meridian Arts in 2021.
Your Native Landscape
Lies, it does not begin
to describe the terrain
of grief, not like a sadness,
not like a leg amputated,
not like the world is a different
place, not like a horse that is shot
or a dog you have to put down.
Well-meaning people say
“Life goes on” or “Take your mind off things”
They say, move along, go for a walk,
Try yoga or throw yourself
into work or a new project.
All creatures are meant to face
this loss of a parent, why can’t
we all just get old together and age
as kinfolk, bundled in heritage
sharing down to earth wisdom,
like a line in the front
of the family Bible that everyone
signs and dates, carefully, with a line
at the end of the date that never gets
filled in. Oh, and if that it were true?
Even if there was peace at the end
or if death came suddenly
then, all at once. Even if, the explosion
of emotion lasts, long past usefulness,
like land mines in South East Asia,
going off when crops are gathered or the dirt
is raked through for new seeds.
Bang, it happens. Even years later
back in America, you run past Clifton’s
or see the Dupar’s sign and the past
slams into the present, in new ways
that the future has yet to consider
or digest. Grief is like that,
it’s shrapnel under the skin working
a way out. A person born
in a specified place, aligned with a land
made whole because of birth,
whether subsequently existing there or not.
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