River of Grief

Grief is a river you wade in until you get to
the other side.

But I am here, stuck in the middle, water
parting around my ankles, moving downstream.
I’m not able to lift a foot, to move on.

Instead, I’m going to stay here
in the shallows with my sorrow.
I’m going to nurture it
like a cranky baby, rock it in my arms.
I don’t want it to grow up, go to school, get
It’s mine. Yes, the October sunlight wraps
me in its yellow shawl, and the air is sweet.

On the other side,
there are apples, grapes, walnuts,
and the rocks are warm from the sun.
But I’m going to stand here,
growing colder, until every inch
of my skin is numb. I can’t cross over.

Because when I do,
Then you really will be gone.

-Barbara Crooker