Days and days and days. In a week. So many ways to distract self. The annals of avoidance would fill a book of the world. What else could lure me to my closet and sort out my sock and tights, search for runs, holes, for among the mess I cannot find a decent pair of 30 den black tights? And what’s with the long reams of sheets on the ironing board? And good God, a user’s manual? Pinning myself to an online help center and following the steps, in order, one two three, to obtain access to a recalcitrant app? To keep the cesspool of news and social media warp at bay. Also, the inarticulateness of grief.
Then something turns my stubborn head: Emily Dickinson. If it feels as if the top of my head is taken off, it’s poetry, Dickinson said – she knew. Could she have been more articulate about grief in the poem titled after its first line: After great pain, a formal feelings comes—? “After a trauma, stiffness takes over, and in the poem becomes personified: “The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –”
Woh. With such delicacy, Dickinson hovers around the anesthetized parts after the adrenaline wears off. The stony interior that is aware of the magnitude and overwhelmed by the change. Transparent and beautiful, the poem allows a subtle inner consciousness to be spied on, made alive, moved through. Some things are made delicate, beautiful and meant to run, like nylons; others, like poetry, are delicate, beautiful and are built to last.