March 11th, 2011 - Grace Gardiner

or, TWO DAYS BEFORE THE WINTER SOLSTICE 2020, I SAID GOODBYE TO MY CHILDHOOD DOG OVER ZOOM




This morning I don’t know


what I’m even mourning.



The withered lab-pit mix


named for the stars and moon



and a children’s-book bat


who lost then found family


everywhere. The jagged


ruby-clot of cells I passed



sudden a couple weeks


back to the watershed



or landfill, contingent


to the steps of my local



wastewater treatment plant.


My mood of clouded mirror



its extinguished, endless,


eviscerating lack.



A year or two or ten


of sublimated grief.



A decade ago, I was


seventeen in a schoolroom


vaguebooking pop songs,


sink-or-swimming in all



the wrong christian rules


and academic creeds,



corroding my body’s tender


plume of gender for sex,



achingly oblivious


piously repressed



and everyone I’ve lost


was still alive, somewhere



in the future-past of not yet.


Dear teenage-complicity—



Dear un-diary— Dear


one-day-slinks-to-the-next—



I have a headache


the size of a quarter



million obituaries


hurtling exponentially,



a colicky unease


as rampant as the mask-less



as swollen, bitter-rawed


as the gaslit every time



I leave my ramshackle


domestic. I live in



the smallest magnifications


of worry, fury, sadness,



scraping thru each day minute-


by-minute. Ultimately, I am scared



I am foolish in my hurt


-harbouring. Even to say why



or how runs on empty.


What can be left



when trauma tangs the air


in persistent erosion. I try,



I am trying to parent


in the radical, unlegal



etymology: to origin


-ate and affect an account



-able stake in this world


I will not shake: to care



for my place. I write out


this unordinary ordinary



because it happened


because it is happening



because no one should be let


to forget or doubt or undo it.



Least of all a future self.


Least of all a current me.






Grace Gardiner is a non-binary poet and burgeoning intermedia installation artist. Find them online at pearlsthatwere.tumblr.com. They encourage you to become a monthly sustainer to the Race Matters, Friends Community Bail Fund, or to find your local bail fund in the National Bail Fund Network's directory.


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