Requiem

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson

What song to sing in tired times as now

when new-sprung shoots are crushed beneath the heels

of time, before they grow? Blossom snipped low

by fate’s callous blade. How that sorrow feels

like opening to the pain of the world.

Wholed by a light at the snuff of your day,

the end to a story impeccably told.

Though now we must trudge an opposite way

stay close to us. The ones we love who’ve gone

on to glory, or horror, or nothing—all

linked, ever in memory. Names etched in bone,

or page, or slates of stone on graveyard sprawl.

Yes, grief is a sored horse that bucks and hurts,

yet we tug the reins and survive the worst.

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is the author of Slingshot, winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He is a 2023 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellow.
Originally published:
June 14, 2023

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