Grief Living Poetry

Wonder Women

For a friend (or two)(or three)

Even strong women break / fall apart in parking lots
our lives upside down / wheels spinning
Curse our way through or sleep it out / drink it out, consume it
Find the weight so unbearable / our hearts just stop
Sure, we can be both / strong and broken
capable and crying  / put together
and a total fucking mess






Never underestimate
the power in that /
the force it takes
to hold ourselves up
while balancing the

Grief Poetry

Late December Bird Watch

The mourning doves are here for the winter,
eight by this morning’s count at the feeder before

eight by their count now on the slight-sagged branch
where they wait out the starlings
with hope there is something left

that galaxy of stars like a black hole
devours everything
leaves morsels for small sparrows at least
who will sneak back later to peck out
their gratitude in code on the frost

I read it sometimes, their code of thanks,
wonder if they know I timed it —
spread seeds as soon as the doves arrived,
before the stars descended with the moon

made myself large by the side door
a warning, a warrior

let them have their take, those eight
grief is a hungry thing
even the weeping is enough to lay a table bare

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. Photo by Jennifer Snyder, Project Feederwatch

Grief Storytelling

The Sense of Grief

Akin to the “just a bad dream” trope, my sense of grief is this: something has gone dreadfully wrong with the Universe and if I just do this ONE THING, it will all revert back to normal. One sees this frequently in science fiction and fantasy films — the heroine on a quest to find a key, a portal, a magical lever that will right the wrong. Not unfamiliar with a strong work ethic, I slip easily into the task. And the expectation. Anticipating that each effort, no matter how small or insignificant  — an action as simple as opening a door even — may be that ONE THING. Now? It’s fleeting of course. The hard weight of reality always presses firmly on sweet hope. At some point, you accept the new way of being, that empty empty space, but not without the occasional beautiful moment of Now?… weeks, months, years later.

©2022, Jen Payne