Grief is a curious beast.
He's barbed, so you know he can sting.
Also, he's quite reserved and shy.
He comes for visits.
But you have to invite him in.
You have to insist he stays a bit.
Of course, he declines, at first.
He's a little embarrassed by the invitation,
As is his nature. But he accepts, anyway.
He thinks it's just impolite to ignore a second offer.
So you finally see him seated in your living room.
Quiet. A little out of place on your sofa. But there.
You offer him a brew of black bitterness.
He loves the aroma. It scalds the sinuses
Like the sniffles from a December smog.
He waits. You are ready with your hesitations,
Vague omens, ill-defined thoughts and misgivings.
He listens and leans in closer, politely interested.
These are not regrets, you clarify,
Just half-explored domains
Of a to-do list trapped in Mobius loop.
Or perhaps, a little bit of both and then some.
You give him cookies neutered by urban annoyances.
They are salty from the grit of traffic. He doesn't complain.
It's his nature, but he doesn't finish the plate either.
You continue, what do you call that...
Ah yes, missed opportunities turned averted mishaps!
He doesn't complete your sentences.
That's the pattern of your afternoon couplet.
You supply your own private narratives
He just listens. Somehow, that's how the wisdom
Of friendships fuse into your parlance.
Sunlight settles like simile on tired sills.
He is patient like books are as they wait to be sieved.
Their riddles seep into the marrows of your fingertips.
Their spines quailing for the thrall of pulses.
He leaves as quietly as he came in and sat with you.
You hear him close the door, at three p.m., and
The time yawning as he walks away.
You don't mind him going. There is no grief left for him.
Then you feel the sharp bites on your skin.
You notice your fingers bleeding tears.