Friday, October 17, 2014

Wintering by Kevin Young


I am no longer ashamed 
how for weeks, after, I wanted 
to be dead - not to die, 

mind you, or do 
myself in - but to be there 
already, walking amongst 

all those I'd lost, to join 
the throng singing, 
if that's what there is - 

or the nothing, the gnawing - 
So be it. I wished 
to be warm - & worn - 

like the quilt my grandmother 
must have made, one side 
a patchwork of color - 

blues, green like the underside 
of a leaf - the other 
an old pattern of the dolls 

of the world, never cut out 
but sewn whole - if the world 
were Scotsmen & sailors 

in traditional uniforms. 
Mourning, I've learned, is just 
a moment, many, 

grief the long betrothal 
beyond. Grief what 
we wed, ringing us - 

heirloom brought 
from my father's hot house - 
the quilt heavy tonight 

at the foot of my marriage bed, 
its weight months of needling 
& thread. Each straightish, 

pale, uneven stitch 
like the white hairs I earned 
all that hollowed year - pull one 

& ten more will come, 
wearing white, to its funeral - 
each a mourner, a winter, 

gathering ash at my temple.

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