The Stages of Grief and Other Lies

In the forest with the night creatures, I resolve
to let grief in. It’s trailed me long enough,
sulked outside the door while I took anger out
in the bedroom. There were lovers, numerous.
And trinkets abandoned in nests: longhand
notes, photos of the original family, pairs of earrings,
the good silver. And from all this negotiating
we gain what? The dead stay dead. It isn’t
necessary to understand why. Wolf pays no mind,
knows only teat and teeth. So what will appease
me? The tree shelters both mouse and owl, its empty
places a comfort for what lives. Suppose this design
was visible all along. Is everything invention?
My cries echo among pines in every direction.

Photo used under CC.

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About Author


Carolee Bennett is an artist and poet living in Upstate New York, where she likes to say she has been the “almost” poet laureate of Smitty’s Tavern (placing as first runner-up in an annual contest). Her poems have been published in a number of print and online journals, and in 2015 her poem “On not shielding young minds from the dark” placed as a semi-finalist for the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize. She has an MFA in creative writing (poetry) from Ashland University in Ohio and works full-time at a marketing agency as a writer / content manager.


  1. I dislike so much modern or should we say, current American poetry. But this poem is different. I get it, I understand the situation and the emotion. Good stuff from Carolee.

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