Michael A. Griffith began writing poetry as he recovered from a disability-causing injury. His poems, essays, flash fiction and articles have appeared in many print and online publications and anthologies. He resides and teaches near Princeton, NJ. His first poetry chapbook is slated to appear later this year from The Blue Nib.
To leave us the way she wanted, she held
her tongue, hid the diagnosis until
her illness would no longer be denied. It stripped
her power over the truth as it drank
her strength and ate her resolve.
No longer denied, the cancer became
a glutton for attention simply by being
there. Her weakness, her pains, her clenched lungs,
our tears; near-constant callers and over-staying guests.
No to therapies, no to drugs stronger than
Advil p.m., no even to in-home aides until
that last week. If the dying can’t be selfish
in dying, when can they be?
No to a funeral, no to a viewing, just
spread her out around her yard
and her garden; let the wind and the rain,
the sparrows and squirrels carry her off.
If life can’t take away the dead,
what is worth taking?
The last coughing, the wish for
one last smoke, sweet as
that first one, and 26 minutes later
our tears visited again.
Tanzanite. Dinosaurs dancing as emojis try to talk.
Charity popcorn in five flavors. Autism speaking
as several cancers spread.
Aquamarine. I care about cancer more now that we are in love,
but I still don’t fear death.
Amber. Fly with me. Be still with me. Get stuck in me.
Diamond. Shine just for me. Dance only for me, Talk to me.
IN WEATHERLY, PENNSYLVANIA
(For Sandy Drusda)
Her trees will not last the year, she knows,
the man from licenses and safety for the city came by
and left a letter telling her to cut them down.
Tall as any she has ever seen,
these trees have seen more than five generations of weather,
winter, and warmth. Infestations and storms could not fell them
until this last bad ice, heavier than lead.
Tall but deformed now, defaced by an unkind year,
her trees try for austerity, try for the clouds, try
for strength in April’s chilly winds,
as she tries to catch them with her sketchpad.
Her trees will not last much longer, she knows.
Picking through it all
photographs books toiletries DVDs
a weight set used twice
a wedding dress
while so young so in love so
scattered now thrown around torn up by
the twister of a divorce not meant to happen
to the marriage not meant to be
we move past we move forward we move on
we lick the wounds and learn from the scars
use them as a road map to new lives
for since we didn’t kill each other we
each other so
much the stronger