Saturday, November 28, 2015

Peg Runnels: "I Want My Grief"

to be brilliant, fast and gone.
Like Mozart. Or Stevie Ray.
Like fireworks. Boom! Flash!
Ooh, ahh. OK, done. Let’s go.

I want my grief to be brave.
Hurts more now, heals faster,
Grandma said, pouring salt
On a skinned knee.

I want to stand up to grief,
Stand it down, like the
Tiny man, big tank
In Tiananmen Square.

Because. Because if I am brave,
Bold, salty, open enough
The tank, the bleeding, the tears
Will stop sooner. I tell myself.

But grief laughs. Humbles me.
I lose keys, break cups, get lost.
Asked at CarMax Why are you
Selling this car?
I burst

Into an embarrassment of tears.
A friend says, One doesn’t have grief,
Grief has you.

We wrestle, to the mat. I’m pinned.

But sometimes I break free.
Break patterns instead of dishes.
Start to write myself a new story,
To fling myself toward yes,

Begin to say, Oh. Now this. . . . Observe
What life brings. Reframe. Say,
I’m not wrestling grief,
We’re dancing.

So, I put my right foot in . . .
And turn myself about.

"I Want My Grief" by Peg Runnels. © Peg Runnels. Text presented here by poet submission.  

Art credit: "Dance Your Way Through Sorrow," photograph by anaPhenix.


  1. Oh yes to this poem. Yes. "one doesn't have grief, grief has you"! Yes to walking with it, wrestling with it and sometimes making a break for it and having moments of lightness, laughter and even joy. Finding a new way to be with my grief. Thank you, Peg, for writing this. oxo

  2. Yes…thank you for helping me to see Grief in a new light.

  3. Thank you so much! Is it too much to ask for Grief to be a kickass dancer?

  4. Let your grief give you whatever you need. Peg Runnels


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