Stage 7: Schizophrenia
I saw his voice.
I smelled his shadow. My love, he said,
I did not want to leave you.
Stage 15: Widow Brain
You know, when you walk into a room And forget why?
It’s like that—except
I know what I’ve forgotten: me.
Stage 1: Denial
I am on the landing halfway up, halfway down the stairs.
I remember eating dinner.
Bob, his snout over the top stair stares
My husband could be upstairs at his desk
killing demons in WarCraft downstairs in his chair watching Master Chef
Stage 48: Dammit
He was right,
He did do more dishes.
Stage 23: Self-medicating at Denny’s with Carbs
8-inch pancakes Butter,
syrup teabag bleeding
Stage 27: Despair Joan Didion calls it the vortex
a vibrating shadow at the horizon edge connects to a memory of you
Stage 20: Joy
Sitting on the cracked, bulbous, coffee-brown leather chair he moved in with
Bob asleep with his head on my thigh His small black body between
my legs You know the rule:
You cannot wake the dog.
I will sit here as long as I can until I have to pee.
Stage 100: Psychosis
I am paying $90 a month For a dead guy’s cell phone.
Stage 79: Progress Thinking about thinking about dating
More than a day without crying actually liked that movie walked 10,000 steps
wrote a poem about something other than my dead husband.
Vanessa Poster, a member of the Los Angeles Poets and Writer’s Collective, has studied Method Writing with Jack Grapes for more than 20 years and has been teaching creative writing since March 2017. Her work has appeared in The Thieving Magpie, ONTHEBUS, I’ll have Wednesday and Went To Ralphs To Get A Chicken. She is a writing coach and runs a workshop called, “The Write Way: Using the Written Word to Heal Grief.” She is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelors in Humanities and a Masters in Modern Thought and Literature. She was widowed in 2015 and her poems explore themes of grief, love and gratitude.
Vanessa Irene Poster