A wife dies, a husband mourns, and there is no way to measure the amount of sorrow that lays hushed in awaiting open arms. Few things in life sing louder than a chorus of condolences, well-meaning echoes that begin to ring redundant. At what point do casseroles piling up in the fridge begin to clank against each other and look like hollow apologies? Sympathy is pointing out an untied lace; empathy is walking around in those shoes, regardless of the fit. Placing blame on God for your own misery is a selfish act, but at least acknowledges His existence. Yet where in the plot does grieving end and the sob story begin? How many pages must be turned before constituting a fresh start? Even the trees know when it’s time for them to be chopped down.
Daniel Romo is the author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014), and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). He lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA. More at danielromo.net.