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The Speed of the Body

In the paroxysms of grief
I fall to my knees
lean into the couch
face buried in a cushion,

wailing to a nameless god.

The body contracts
seizes, wraps like a trembling fist
around something
already gone

holds tight to its absence.

Like an afterbirth
a third stage of labor
expels the last vestiges
of miscarried dreams

stillborn possibilities.

The slow contractions of holding
and releasing, holding
and releasing, pulse
through the days arrhythmic

as a broken heart.

This is how we grieve
at the speed of the body
hollowing ourselves of a future
until we find a new way

of holding the past.

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Neimeyer also serves as Director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, which offers training and certification in grief therapy.

One comment on “The Speed of the Body

  • Brenda Daly
    January 14, 2022 | 12:57 am

    Beautiful

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