by Michelle Holland You don’t have to try so hard, every drawer opens to the scraps and detritus of all I’ve lost, even the stray paperclips talk about what they used to hold. I am surrounded, so there’s no need for that constant drumbeat disguised as my pulse, or his oversized sombrero perched to protect from too much sun. Grief, there is nowhere to hide. Your song began on my body, dancing around my heart in his roomy cowboy boots, with your harmonica and baritone drawl, as if I’m the second stanza of some country-western song you know all the words to, now lodged in my right knee, your insistent self, just under my five year old scar that aches with any change in weather. No need to be so obvious, you don’t seem to realize that I can’t breathe without you anyway. You show up in the kitchen chairs, Spanish Colonial carved and clear polished maple he built to place around the dining-room table. Your keening insistent under the autumn slant of light on the barrancas slashed across the canvas with the piñon and trail in the foreground, all the paintings he painted surround me. There’s a turquoise inlaid band for a watch you won’t stop, keeping time in a desk drawer. Don’t think I don’t hear it ticking? Don’t think I’m not hungry every time you throw evidence of all I’ve lost my way? This isn’t a game of hide and seek. What you don’t know is “No worst, there is none,”* as I know mountains of my mind include all you carry, because I carry you, not surprised when “Angels Fly too Close to the Ground,” plays again, and the light graces just right onto the wood pile or catches the top first greening branches of the big cottonwoods as more of your hammering reminders. *Quoted line from one of Gerard Manly Hopkins, “Miserable Sonnets,” “No worst, there is none, pitched past pitch of grief,”
Michelle Holland is currently the Poet-in-Residence for the Santa Fe Girls School and the treasurer of NM Literary Arts. Her poems can be found in literary journals, in print, on the internet, as well as in a few anthologies. She has two book-length collections of poetry, Chaos Theory (Sin Fronteras Press), and The Sound a Raven Makes, (Tres Chicas Press).