Grief

A poem

Don’t speak to me of heartbreak, I have an argument
with habits of metaphor—it’s not the heart
In April I brought tulips white
pale green and orange in from the garden
you mean but the ineffable—character soul
locus of feeling—don’t tell me that muscle
and with his fine pen he drew page after
page of delicate ravishing tulips
is made whole by breaking—the thready beat
made stronger if ravaged, then repaired
In June plush peonies named for Paean
the physician to ancient gods
Could we salvage joy from each day loosening
Then July I brought the overabundance
of the Oriental lily’s perfume
our ravenous hold on the world?
his hand transfigured the rich ivory paper
Where could it be written,
to a garden room various edenic alive
why would anyone say, why would
a rabbi teach the heart survives by breaking?
August now and great maples tall oaks darken
and cool the garden so flowers know not to thrive
that in black ink my love may still shine bright