In mourning

This poem is written in honor of Nick Bess, a young person living in Memphis, who was shot and killed on Tuesday evening. Nick was one of Code for America’s youth researchers, worked part-time as a barber, and had a sunny, brilliant presence. I am so sorry he is no longer with us in this physical form.

A mother goes to the funeral home to identify her son
to confirm that the babe she bore from her body,
nursed and fed, is the same being in the morgue.
What prepares a mother for the moment?

The dreams of the son still echo
like yesterday’s wind,
his energy like fresh cut flowers in the kitchen,
sun streaming through windows 
open to the possibility of a new day.

I spill over with grief,
an ocean of sorrow flooding my heart
Empty and numb, this body braces for more suffering.
Who may be lost tomorrow?

I haven’t found the strength to message my Palestinian friend
who has no water or food in the Aida refugee camp.
How will I impede an army? My money cannot buy bread,
only weapons that rain bombs on the trembling earth.

The futility of sense-making, the comfort of it,
To lose myself in the anger of blame, far easier than
intimacy with the ocean as it threatens to overwhelm me
Today I do not resist the sweet crash of the waves, taking refuge
in the grief that is vast and deep, mysterious blue.

Meanwhile, the trees rustle and winter birds sing
The ginkgo trees have gone yellow and the maple golden red
The earth offering the gentle reminder of change
I sink to my knees in surrender.