Barbara Daniels, “Imperfect Grief”

Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

orange line

Imperfect Grief

The sign at the church says
Thursdays: Grief Sharing.
Half-empty apartments

crowd the street. At a window,
a woman in black.
If she’s like me, she’s glad

it’s getting too dark to see
raised veins on her raddled
hands. I can’t go back

through plowed fields, three steps
up to a modest door, can’t
walk till night wrings itself out

and surrenders to sunrise, house
sparrows idling in the gutter,
iced-over pond shining

like giftwrap. I ask the cold
to be kinder, snow to touch softly,
feather, fall. Every day

my amaryllis almost opens, first
a green pregnancy, spot of red,
then leafy reaching. What drives

a red bloom out of each plumped
green belly, too late for Christmas,
but bright and bouffant as a prom dress?


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