On Sunday


Maybe you're a verb, or some
lost part of speech
that would let us talk sense
instead of monkey-screech

when we try to explain you
to our loved ones and ourselves
when we most need to.
Who knows why someone dies

in the thick of happiness,
his true love finally found,
the world showing success
as if the world were only a cloud

that floated in a dream
above a perfect day?
Are you also dreaming our words?
Give us something to say.

- Michael Ryan
from New and Selected Poems


Last week I tell a friend about poems I am writing. He is heartbroken with the death of one he loved. I do not find beauty in this pain, he says. There is no sweetness in my grief.

I don't have enough words, or the right words, to console. Each death is our own. But later that day, in my purse, among gum wrappers and old receipts, I find this poem.

Some days words arrive, and I accept them as precious gift.