What It Isn't & What It Is


A while ago, I wrote this poem about grief. I just came across it and found that it still feels true, so I wanted to share. As Mary Oliver wrote, "Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile, the world goes on..." We're in this together. 

"What it Is and What it Isn't"

It isn't letting go

It isn't getting over

Because it isn't a rope, and it isn't a mountain--

it is nothing so concrete.

And the last thing I want is to let go of you.

And the last thing I want is to be over you.

Never going to happen.


It is a discovery that I can still sit with you

I can still feel your hand on my arm

I can still feel your gentle spirit, your pride and joy in me

I can still feel peace.

It is a terrible knowledge

that everything I love will be taken from me

that horribly, and fortunately, nothing can be trusted to remain constant

a wonderful knowledge that I am loved and I love

and I am.

Sometimes it is a letting go of the tight cords of my body

a letting go of the thought that we are separate

a letting go, as if trusting that the springy earth will hold me

will cradle me.

It still isn't getting over--


you are not a mountain, though you are that large to me--

it is living through and with,

breathing into.


Copyright Katie Dutcher 2017

(Please ask for permission to use or share.)