When our granddaughter was stillborn,
the four of us alone in sadness,
the house silent and small,
when we were mute, all words–
even black, grimy, angry words–
having fled, the preacher came.
Although we had not stood in his church
for long, empty, distressing months,
he stood in our den.
(That’s beautiful, right there: he stood in our den.)
In a place where words were no help,
he said some. (Because you do.
You say that there’s no understanding,
ever. That babies shouldn’t die.
That no one should rock a dead baby.)
And then he prayed. Had a vision.
He saw us on a porch, staring
at a field, harvested. Empty.
We were looking out at it,
after the obliteration–
the loud, challenged destruction
of so much love, want, identity–
and we were saying, “Okay, Lord, what’s next?”
He said we seemed hopeful.
Eight weeks ago, there was no energy
for an eyebrow raise; a wisecrack
about perhaps locusts, our next.
But now, today,
our black is turning blue.
Meals, insistent obstacles, yes.
But we nibble and pick at a louder table.
Sleep is spotty, emotion quick. True.
Yet we are finding fragments of kindness.
And we know how much Nothing there was.