Grief is a sly creature, time goes by and as I begin to forget
He creeps inside with claws digging into my stomach,
Razor teeth gnashing at my heart. He curls under my rib cage,
Heavy and dark, pressed against my vital parts.
I cannot breathe; he crushes my lungs,
My heart is lead and my stomach is full of bile.
Grief thrashes inside and I feel dead.
My grandfather is freshly ripped from the earth.
His suffering screams in my head,
Chorusing with the pain of another man I considered a father.
Their demons: old age, cancer, mental illness, alcoholism haunt me now.
I hear they are in a “better place,” they are not here any more.
I cannot feel them in the flesh, be wrapped in their hugs.
I am selfish, I long to be called theirs again;
The granddaughter who broke through the stone heart,
The fighter girl he’d always consider a daughter.
I have lost those pieces of who I am.
Grief snatches them away, stealing parts of me,
While I fight each day to take them back.
***I have been writing and working on this poem since March, on the 3rd anniversary of my Grandfather’s death. Today I finally feel brave enough to share it on the second anniversary of Keith Winstead’s death, who considered me his daughter, was a brilliant musician, inspiring friend and wonderful man who I miss oh so much.