I seem to have misplaced a tiny little book I read off and on for years, titled “How To Survive the Loss of a Love.”  I am sorry I don’t know the author, but it was written lovingly with a lot of practical suggestions.

Sweet and practical, too, is “It don’t sound so terrible – quite – as it did – ” by Emily Dickinson.

It don’t sound so terrible – quite – as it did –
I run it over – “Dead”, Brain – “Dead”.
Put it in Latin – left of my school –
Seems it don’t shriek so – under rule.

Turn it, a little – full in the face
A Trouble looks bitterest –
Shift it – just –
Say “When Tomorrow comes this way –
I shall have waded down one Day”.

I suppose it will interrupt me some
Till I get accustomed – but then the Tomb
Like other new Things – shows largest – then –
And smaller, by Habit –

It’s shrewder then
Put the Thought in advance – a Year –
How like “a fit” – then –
Murder – wear!

How many times when struck dumb with hurt does it seem I’m ready to claim victory when I succeed one morning in capturing a feeling on paper. “Seems it don’t shriek so” when in writing: “under rule.”

I am queen of “Turn it,… Shift it…”. I really, really resist looking a loss “full in the face/(where) A Trouble looks bitterest — ”.  The next bit of advice, “Say ‘When Tomorrow comes this way —/I shall have waded down one Day’ ” — ok, yes, I can do that.

The third stanza continues with this self-talk (something my little self-help book majored in) but with a little more detachment. Speaking of the loss, but as a thing, separate from me and my loved one, “I suppose it will interrupt me some/Till I get accustomed — but then the Tomb”.

“Tomb!”

Now, I relate.

The poem has ended up in the god-forsaken-place where my little book of practical advice never dared. Never even considered.

The new place, this life, without the person for whom I will never stop screaming, “Like other new Things — shows largest — ..”. I am the one feeling entombed.

Life never did go on, despite the cliche to the contrary. It just gets “.. smaller, by Habit — ” and “…shrewder…” as I learn to wear a vacuum.

A different life, certainly, but as different from the life we had as newness is to murder. The old one fit.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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