Alphabet of Grief

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“Every time I sit down to write I dare the universe. I dare my own death. I dare my 26 horses into syllables and we take off. I’m aware of the risks—everything that my silence would keep hostage rears before me…”
~ Rachel Eliza Griffiths,
poet and visual artist

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to Baboo M
unexpected your exit was,
a departure catching
many unprepared
and raging with questions
and denials, “why? not yet. a few
more years?!?”

but you had left clues
of how you already
rehearsed the highest
liberation of a refined spirit
about to break from the coils
of discomfort, suffering,
the occasional banal day

you a solitary dweller in the deepest
of Pinsao’s woods,
you a painter of flowers that bled
into the Cordillera skyline,
you a deity who wore a crown of
whitened snake bones on your hair,
you a broker of peace, a breaker of silences
for their transmutation to verses,
you a crosser of borders extraordinaire,
you a feeder of multiplying meals
for we were all hungry children at your table

the beating of the gongs
ushers your entry to the beloved skyworld
that you had long ago reached
your hands out to
when you came to
tarry in these mountains

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