Requiem Is it animal or simply human to mourn the loss of what you wish to lose? Gnats spinning in your steaming face some bright August afternoon swing hollow in stippled rows on abandoned spider webs in almost cold October wind. You sweep the mess away. Your eyes water. Again you are the dust-kneed child heart-stung in the playground corner, beguiled by the caterpillar crushed beneath the careless bounce of a ball. A teacher tells you life’s like that, death and birth a cycle spinning like hoops around your playmates’ bellies. A tough-minded parent insists this mad world will squeeze your soul to bursting if such small things stick hard in your throat. But they do. Some dim autumn afternoon you watch dark birds by the dozens dip and rise in synchronized clouds of motion over the graying stubble of a farmer’s field. Past the strange grandeur of the moment, your first thought as their ranks disappear is to wonder how many will fall from the air before reaching some warmer destination. A friend calls you morbid. Perhaps she’s right, but you wish to think better of yourself, so you label this grief for the least of us, fleeting, an excess of love—soft as silk threads, wide as a flying thing’s horizon.
Jo Angela Edwins lives and teaches in Florence, SC. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016, and she has poems appearing or set to appear in The A3 Review, Quarterday Review, Red Rock Review, and Thimble. She has received awards from Winning Writers, Poetry Super Highway, and the SC Academy of Authors, and she currently serves as poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. Aside from poetry, she loves animals, flowers, and far too many television crime shows.