The Thing Is, by Ellen Bass


“…to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”


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2 comments to “The Thing Is, by Ellen Bass”

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  1. unklemikey says: May 11, 2016 at 19:38

    To paraphrase Chekhov, It’s one thing to overcome a crisis w/ an outpoint and another to handle the grind of day to day life particularly when we are in depression. I totally relate to the crumbling, the clogged throat, the suffocating moist heat of grief, the knot in our center that goes away to give us rest only to return again. Feelings that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, particularly myself. I’ve not totally gotten over the grief that past losses have spawned but it’s manageable. Loving myself is hard work but I”m working on it. 🙂

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