The Shine Journal

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Two from Janet Wilkinson


Yoga for Mourners

When you died
I knelt in the backyard
and pressed my forehead
to the damp grass
my fingers
gripped the earth
and I held on against
the sudden bucking
of the globe.

When you died
I lay upon the grass
and lengthened and pressed my spine
firmly to the earth
my palms turned up to the sky,
sad blue reflections shimmered there
like small pools of tears.

When you died
I howled at the blank moon
and roared into the
sharp October wind
as it lifted leaves
and shuffled long grass
and rushes
and threatened to sweep me
over the edge of the earth
and away.

For if not you,
who will anchor me
to this place?



They pass.
Quicksilver slender messengers
trailing scents
incense-heavy suggestive,
fluttering silks;
pledging good taste
warm hearts
good love;
bearing the secret alphabet of life—
a is for allure
b is for buss;
feigned efficiency
and ancient intuition.

They pass.
Dividing past
and future tribes
like the air they displace;
promises whispered,
murmured incantations
of doubt;
spells cast—
Look at me, choose me,
Oh, someone, want me.

Golden limbs
slice through air deftly,
fairness impaled and spent;
silks tattered
ripeness withered;
mystic alphabet spoken
and they pass—
shedding innocence,
childhood exhaled in small
disappointed ohs.

Motivation: I wrote "Yoga for Mourners" shortly after the death of my mother-in-law. As I mourned her passing, I wondered how the death of a spouse or partner affects the survivor; I tried to express the depth of this grief in the poem. "Girls" is a reflection on the vitality of adolescence and the fleeting nature of innocence.    

Bio: Janet Wilkinson is a teacher and a writer of poetry and short stories. She has been published in The White Wall Review.

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Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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