A Poem by Jessica Goodfellow

Jessica Goodfellow

Jessica Goodfellow

Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Whiteout (University of Alaska Press, 2017), Mendeleev’s Mandala (2015) and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (2014). Her work has been included in Best New PoetsVerse DailyThe Writer’s Almanac, and has been made into a short film by Motionpoems. She was awarded the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal, and has been a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve. Recently, her work has appeared in Threepenny ReviewThe AwlThe Southern Review, and Best American Poetry 2018. Jessica lives with her family in Japan.

How I Know My Grief

Nothing green
grows faster
than bamboo.

This is how
I know
my grief’s

not green.
Pine trees,

blind, are green.
This is how
I know

my grief
is green.
An ampersand

stands where
a sequence
is unfinished.

This is how
I know
my grief’s

an ampersand.
though, is marked

by and and &—
this is how
I know

my grief’s
no ampersand.
My grief is

wind, & also
the spaces be-
tween winds

which are some-
times called time—
but that’s in error.

Where are
the hours &
the days so

green & end-
less now?
This is how

I know
my grief is

-wise, widder-
shins: contrary to
the sun’s

across the sky.
A horizon

what can be seen.
This is how

I know
my grief
is a horizon—

but, even more,
the opposite
of the horizon,

where one can
never arrive.

my grief
can never be

My grief is
on the other hand

& on this hand,

& on my lips
& in my eyes
& in my shadow,

which, forebod-
ingly’s, contrary
to the sun

& to all things
green & growing
which must some

day die & I
do not know why
which is how

I know my grief.