From Mules of Love

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.

when grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?

then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

Ellen Bass



Filed under Family

4 responses to “From Mules of Love

  1. Someone really important to me said this to me recently: “I have to learn to want what I have.” That’s one of the hardest things for some of us–a lot of us. It’s hard to love a life that’s in disrepair, or a broken body. “An obesity of grief.” God, that’s like, I don’t know, so perfect and poignant and SPOT.ON. And so hard to come back from. Maybe all it takes is a choice? One in which you do grab life by the face and say “I will love you again.”

    What a beautiful poem. Heartbreaking but hopeful.

  2. Karen [Hayden's Mom]

    I saw that this was a poem and I was all geared up to leave the usual “you’re sucha fag” comment. But, then I read it. I digress.

    This one speaks to me in volumes. Thanks for posting it. I love you funyy valentine. 😀

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