Given the Circumstance

It’s taken me many weeks and still, I can’t
do it right. A list helps me contain it. That’s
all I ask for and it’s not a question. I will start
from the beginning: most days it feels like
 
my grief is going to kill me. I can’t explain
it, but it’s true. The particular situation has
nothing to do with faith. My version of God
is gratitude. Comfort has occurred to me.
 
Given the circumstance, I’m going on with
things, but the fact is sometimes I simply lie
in my bed and wail. I can’t stop thinking.
I believe, but I am tormented anyway. What can
 
you say to me? I know that consolation won’t
get stronger. No one can alter your love. Small
things such as this have saved me. I carry
tremendous beauty that is greater than the
 
bitterness of death. I keep thinking that it is
time to go silent and listen to the wake.
Everything is simultaneously erased and
omnipresent, but it will also shift in shape.
 
A literal translation is impossible. The real
work of grief is forgiveness. The entire premise
of love has to do with nurturing people to who
they will become. My sorrow is the temple I built.
 
It required me to suffer. It compelled me to reach.
 

Dear Sugar advice column #78, “The Obliterated Place.”


Alexandra Smyth is a graduate of the City College of New York MFA Creative Writing Program. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cobalt Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Stirring, among others. She was a 2015 finalist for the Gabriela Mistral Poetry Prize, and a 2014 recipient of the Poets & Writers Amy Award. She lives in Brooklyn.

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