Grief Work

by Christina deVillier Issue: Spring 2018
everyone’s obsessed with bees
      right now and I with trees

the only metaphor   I texted John
      we ever need     all braid and bark

     and fingers taking in the dark
and giving in the light and seeming

      self-contained though nothing’s self-
contained    and elsewhere a container

       ship swipes a clear track through
the plastic    for a moment you

       can see blue water from above
and then the filthy waves sway back

       to shut the gap before the albatross
can take a clean dive so it swallows

toys and floss and shrapnel bycatch
       with its herring and its nestlings

       choke and die    this is why
the bees are interesting now

things interest us at last    e.g.
       the stumptown trees    perhaps

    you’ve seen the photos of those sitkas
laid in pieces on the eastbound trains

just google vintage logging    now
I’m walking in the hot december

      rain and in the hilltop park
I watch a drenched halfmasted flag

      weep and twist around its pole
and think about the god the songs

      say promised fire next time
well it’s not clean like that

      so far     not whole
      like that so far

Christina deVillier


Christina deVillier lives in the mountains of northeast Oregon, where she farms, roots, writes, and tries to keep her priorities straight. She is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has received fellowships from Fishtrap, Tin House, and the McIntyre Foundation. Her work can be found in About Place, Sugar Mule, and Bridge.