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Grief Beggar, Karly Jacklin

CW: death

Phonograph, record the sounds of grief. Go on, contraption

of the ending 19th century,

replay it for us, reimagine his ghost dried out in the sun:

A dark body of water, near silence — so close to nothing.

Isaac, writhing so sweetly below the surface,

is crumbling, and no one is saving him.

Perhaps Isaac, a violin without strings, and

me, playing a sonata in the rain. A bow staggering

on the maple neck, prying the music out of the wood, or corn crows, spotted by a hunter, dropping neatly off the fence that encloses

the public high school. Isaac in the gunshots,

Isaac in the birds. Isaac in the caws

of the avian corpses refusing to stay dead.

This is the feeling of my eyes forming glass sheets behind the iris, the part where

everything swells and nothing releases: at this moment I drive a hearse, a black car,

I lead a funeral procession in which the end goal is to dissolve into the ground,

the whole world just following our dead. Give me a preview and just tell me

about the first realizations:

The missing knowledge of his favorite color,

the empty school desks, the end stop

where adulthood should be. Skip to the moment

when I stop waiting for the heavy breath of loss

to crane-fold itself into something medicinal.

At some point I’ll stop waiting to heal.

I’ll welcome the vacancy as a new identity.

Phonograph, you miracle of repetition,

replay the sounds of Isaac alive.

Give us the pitter of hot rain on a Sunday,

the kind that can melt time off of its linear plane.

Drip us back onto your turntable, you spiraling mystery,

teach me everything you know about becoming cyclical.


Karly Jacklin is a poet and Ohioan currently pursuing a BFA at the University of Maine at Farmington. Her work has appeared most recently in Atlas & Alice, The Pacific Review, and The River. She lives in western Maine with her girlfriend, with whom she drinks many oat milk lattes.

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