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Bethany Lim: Five Stages of Grief
Part of the PoetryCircle Showcase series.
  • ____________________
    Shifting hemispheres

    It’s spring in waiting—
    the long snow holds into

    February and you turn
    toward whatever is warm,

    a wherever hidden in
    temporary thawing.

    It’s small between
    the seasons—little rows

    in which we linger just
    a moment too quick.

    There is no reason close
    enough to hear. At least

    you stay next to me, not
    looking. At least we go

    into the shift awake,
    hands open, knowing.

    Defending the kingdom

    The rain may pass without ceremony, pitch only
    tents of darkened trees by morning. I am left, then,

    without dry wood, without acceptable hurt, with
    no storm to show for it. The clouds run, retreat to far

    off fields, and I try to explain the wet ground, explain
    how we lack the fierceness of fire. The day may come

    when our enemies will elope, steal our possibilities,
    break our need for common ground simply by leaving.


    You, in the window, alight
    as night falls, as street lights
    flare back to life.  I,

    tucked in this cold, know
    that pane, when it cracked,
    how the lock froze.  Now,

    as sudden as want, as slow
    as grief to belong,
    winter turns on.


    There is no entirely
    kind way to

    delay separation,
    to tell the living and

    the dead that
    the ground is frozen.

    So, instead of words,
    we stand silent and

    exhale cold above
    folded hands.


    I don't know why you remind
    me of silence and cold.

    Today, the remainder of heat
    condenses into icicles and

    my heartbeat is muffled
    against the snow.  It's still,

    the desert in July. You
    are gone even before I

    remember that you
    couldn't possibly be here.

    Ignoring Adam

    Your space is occupied in degrees, the apples in
    the front yard are only the beginning.  I lean:
    into empty, into order, into ignoring all that isn't
    there.  You make entire sentences while I hesitate
    on seeds, dividing everything that's not continued
    into slices.  I conserve, weigh what is left while
    the trees unravel leaves, the birds build nests, we
    invent the law of cracks so everything can break.


    I turn, at odds with night,
    my limbs swing in
    conversation with the sky.  
    Its edges in relief, a distant
    gathering of bright, rise
    against a fallen screen.  When
    will it end, the light reach
    of this deep assembly?
    It doesn't matter.  The dark
    holds, keeps its knotted
    length of rope. The birds
    will be alone again
    by morning.

    After Atlas

    I should begin.  Elevate morning
    before night lands, before I learn

    the dark. I should hang. My arms,
    like angels, outstretched to align

    with the horizon.  I orient: eyes
    forward, voice joyous, knees unbent.
  1. Nicole Michaels
    wow. what a gem, this collection. thank you so much for penning and sharing.
  2. Bethany Lim
    Thanks all for the kind words!
  3. TrishSaunders
    I keep returning to these; I absolutely love Beth's writings. If I could write this well, I  would die of happiness.
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  4. Reminds me a bit of Lyn Lifshin before her gender reassignment. Well done!
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  5. Paul.....Brookes
    You allow us to read into the human intense nature of absence.
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  6. Paul.....Brookes
    Love your use of nature as an expression of feeling.
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  7. Marian Veverka
    These take my breath away.  Emotion packed in such tiny but potent missiles.  So glad I stopped to read them!
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  8. Rick Stansberger
    I haven't seen all these together before.  Wonderful, quiet, intense music.
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  9. Simple yet sophisticated. I like the element of nature in your poetry. Immediate connection. Thank you.
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  10. Bethany Lim
    Thanks all for the kind words!
  11. Vasile Baghiu
    The unity of this collection works well hand in hand with the effective lyricism of simplicity. Fine poems.
    Bethany Lim and Jay Dougherty like this.
  12. tiko lewis
    a lovely collection.
    nice job!

    Bethany Lim and Jay Dougherty like this.
  13. maggie flanagan-wilkie
    Nice collection of poems, Bet.
    Bethany Lim and Jay Dougherty like this.
  14. brendan christopher
    I like this collection because it clings together as one--we see the continuity and the shapes become less amorphous--and more human-- the more we read...
    Bethany Lim and Jay Dougherty like this.
  15. James Carver
    simply sublime!!
    Bethany Lim and Jay Dougherty like this.
  16. Amanda
    If only we could scroll to acceptance as quickly as we savor these beautiful poems.
    Thank you for sharing this collection.
    Bethany Lim and Jay Dougherty like this.
  17. Michael Ashley
    Great, enjoyed this Beth. Neat and cohesive little bundle.

    Bethany Lim likes this.
  18. Cheryl.Leverette
    How gorgeous!
    Bethany Lim likes this.
  19. Tom Riordan
    What a fine collection, Bethany! Tom
    Bethany Lim and Jay Dougherty like this.