Father, this year’s jinx rides us apart / where you followed our mother to her cold slumber; / a second shock boiling its stone to your heart, / leaving me here to shuffle and disencumber
Collage & watercolor.
What the Body Wants by Amy Gerstler in Ghost Girl
Words by me; silkscreen & Bedwetter zine by artist Christopher Russell.
Thinking of the one behind me in this picture, the one I’ve known since I was three years old. All week I’d wanted to tell her about my father dying because she, out of all my friends, knew him the longest and best. The thought would rise and turn into smoke only to come barreling back into my heart muscle unexpectedly. That she might want to know. That she needed to know. And still the most recent rupture between us—that now feels like a century ago—kept me from contacting her. That, and the slippery passage of grief I move through.
Last night she contacted me on Twitter. We do not follow each other so we could not direct message. She sent me the full force of her love and heartbreak upon hearing and understanding the news and I felt it. It was a public testimony of loss and the love that abides, despite difficulties, differences, and misunderstandings.
Reading her words only reminded me that she was the one I trusted most going into the ocean with. She knows how to call the waves in such a way that my heartbeat quickens but I knew I could trust her implicitly about when to go under and when to ride over. She is the one who has spent the most time with me out before where the waves start their roll toward shore.
And in this way I learned something new about grief.
Father in crows.
43. by Wanda Coleman in Bathwater Wine.
Loose by Rae Gouirand in Open Winter.