loss/cowardly loss slithering away/ loss /loss / loss
followed by please /begged of someone already gone
no mistake/ not one person / many / the assortments of grief
spread through a lifetime/

how like a corpse I am / this other word for body /
how like a shocked child/ stunned by slap and abandon
how easy  to slip from heart to mind / /

I will not // I the aftermath
dropped with only a language of longing / trying a voice not sure it sounds
/ I will call
loss/ loss /
hear snake disappearing /

/even in the place of belonging / the place of tall pines and soft brown needles /
in the smell of wood and smoke / where taut lines of trees not yet fallen
angle up toward distant sky / where a body can stay /
close to earth / observing changes
/ no one escapes
the sound of the last hard breath / the one before the next / yess

at the back of the eyes / black withdraws / don’t look away / or
take one last stare at the disappearing /
friend / in imaginary safety / even here /
anger and hope hold hands like farytale children /
deep in the forest / escape  anyone who will not see
anger dark / hope deepening

poem and photograph by Jo Mariner