all things end - Uncharted

all things end

By Shari Green

they say grief is the price

of love, as if there’s a penalty

for loving, as if it breaks

rules or laws or expectations


it’s a laugh, really, what they say

about grief, what they think they know

about love; it’s their rules

that have a cost—the rules written

on their face as they purse

their lips, as their gaze traces

the length of my arm, as it lingers

where my hand entwines itself with hers


in this morning’s pale light, the white

cat from across the street flung

herself into our overgrown shrub, emerged

with a bird clamped in her jaws, limp


so it goes, and spring turns

to summer, leaves scatter, the earth becomes

cold and colorless; we paint our hearts red,

stick them in soil, and hope


a tow truck arrives with our car, black hood

crumpled, a deer’s coarse hairs clinging

to the bumper; are we so different from the driver who

glanced away and stole my sister’s future?

the distracted man who shattered

our lives?


all things end—by inattention or neglect,

on cancer wards and battlefields,

in dark allies and coffee shops, and in the back

of an ambulance while a siren

pleads; so it goes, so it goes, and hate

slashes at innocence, fate

cheats and steals, and sorrow for the world

crushes our spirit

like eggshells; we crumple

with the pain of it, heart

wrung out and limp, and we vow

never again—but even then

we tip back our head, even then we open

ourselves for second helpings

and third, our soul ravenous

we’re relentless, aren’t we?

and why not? we love

and we love, because

we cannot help ourselves, because

we cannot bear the alternative, because

we were made for light


what light is there

in this world

that does not come

from love?


so we keep loving the ones

we love, expectations be damned,

and we mourn the dead and

dance in the light

and do our utmost to love this

broken, dying world


all things end


all things

but love


so it goes

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