passage of grief


Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil

that hangs among us like thick smoke./Tonight at last I feel it shake.

-from Samhain Annie Finch

In the poem above, Annie Finch describes the thinning veil of space/time through which ancestors can make passage during rare nights of the year. As Autumn ripens, we become more aware of the winter coming and the weight of that cold on the other side of this season. We just left summer, head towards winter. Leaves change and trees are stripped bare. We are in transition. In the prison across the past few weeks, we have all felt this. It creates tension and, sometimes, sorrow.

Our theme this past week was histories–familial and ancestral. We used the frame of this thinning veil of Samhain or Halloween to offer the opportunity to speak to those relationships that have passed or changed: mothers, grandmothers, fathers, children, those beyond our reach. When you are in prison, the relationships that are out of reach feel and are enumerable.  Continue reading