I had to call our mother
To tell her you died.
She wasn’t responding to my texts or calls
So I had to call the nursing home where she worked
And have the nurse’s desk page her.
What’s going on, she asked immediately.
I told her to sit down.
She said Just tell me.
I said are you sitting down.
She said no, just tell me
As if the refusal to sit
Was some sort of protection
From what was coming.
Read the full piece, “A Letter on Grief,” up now at Fanzine.
“A Letter on Grief” is, in fact, a letter to my brother. Or rather, a hybrid poem/letter/nonfiction piece I wrote in response to his death.
He died in 2016 from a heroin-fentanyl overdose at the age of 27. I publicly performed this piece in June 2017 at an event I hosted called “Never Sent,” which focused on art/writing/letters never sent. My work has been focused on the experience and performance of grief, lately. It is a trying yet interesting and illuminating place to be. People are afraid of it, but everyone experiences it. I got tired of feeling like I needed to hide it.