Words Try to Rescue: Remembering Adam. {poetry}


The following came to me very soon after receiving the news from my daughter that one of her best friends had died.

I could hear her anguish. I could feel her tears. But distance didn’t allow me to hold her at that moment of breathtaking sadness.

I process life through poetry, and death is part of life.

I write about the way the light of expression hits the facets of human experience — the beautiful and tragic, the seemingly mundane, and the celebratory.

Poetry is both conduit and container of every emotion. It’s almost as if enough words can make a kind of sense from a terrible loss. It can’t.

But poetry has secret powers held always in the pockets of my heart, and is meant to be shared.

Adam was only 30, a kind and gentle,  thoughtful, generous, and funny young man.

This poem is dedicated to him, and to all whom his life touched.


You call this grief insurmountable
and I agree.

Death is the last great mystery
and this one hit differently.

Senseless and sudden,
supremely unfair

all I can do
is invite you to share

when I ask
if I may carry your pain
for a little while

in the
open hands
of empathy.

Words do try,
don’t they,
to rush in and rescue.

They are friends;
well-meaning and sincere…

… but clumsy,
frustrating, inadequate.

I do have words…
willing to
unwittingly intrude
upon the silent depths of your sorrow.

I don’t want to use
‘I’m sorry’
(though I am)
or ‘my condolences’
(too formal)
or ‘oh, how awful’.
(although it is.
It is just…
… fucking… awful.)

It would seem
a feeble conceit
to suggest
that mere words can spirit your agony away

wish it gone
as if by a magic wand.

Oh, but
how I would
if only I could.

No. Pain has come,
and wants to sit with you.

It insists
you take a long walk
with it
clinging to your back

a boulder…
… and you are walking uphill.

Grief is there
when you arrive and return,
to embrace you
against your will.

A witness,
proportionate to the love which has not gone,
but is no longer seen
in fleshly form.

And now the love is bittersweet,
because it’s so alive
in your every heartbeat.

And you still hear his laugh
from the next room

as clear as just yesterday.

Then you remember…

… how cruel is Now
and this
new abnormal
of today

How beautifully sad,
the thought of forever.

I will not talk to you about God
or some great cosmic plan —

all I can do
is offer my hand
to remind you
that you don’t have to stand it alone.

I will endeavor to be
the absorbent earth,
to hold the tears you weep,
to wish the ground mossy,
soft for your feet,

that this part of your journey isn’t so unyielding,

so unbearably hard.

I don’t dare suggest
to hold your hand,
if you need to bury your face in both
to cry

so instead of a hundred
mouthed ‘I’m sorry’s,
may I suggest
the word farewell?

Because while death may be
the ultimate change

it really isn’t goodbye.


Having no academic credentials beyond the classroom of life with its myriad complexities, Lisa Guerci lives in a state betwixt the tangible and imaginary, and writes prolifically about it all. A lifelong avid reader and keeper of diaries, Lisa’s childhood plans were derailed when her mother joined a cult and all autonomy and choice was wrested from her formative years. With journalism as a goal, despite being prevented from pursuing an education, Lisa has written a dozen local newspaper articles, but dreams of publishing the poetry, prose, and essays she has written for years, as well as a memoir about her unconventional upbringing and escape from a cult in 1992. Lisa fell in love with words and creative expression of all kinds as a means to freedom during those turbulent years of chaos, the unexpected death of her father when she was 13, and profound dysfunction which has served to hone her strength, resiliency, and empathy. A mother of two and besotted Gigi to two grandchildren, Lisa works as an advocate and support professional within the disabled community. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, music, traveling (mostly in her mind) and communing with nature, from which she draws inspiration and hears the voice of the muse. Lisa resides in a tiny book-cluttered lake cottage in upstate NY with her housemates: twin Hemingway cats, a pair of parakeets, something delicious simmering on the stove, and the music of Joni Mitchell set on replay.


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