The Words We Speak

Because we have been married for nearly forty years,

There’s a language we both speak, often thinking

The same thought at the same time, or finishing

The other’s sentence. But, lately, when we speak

Of our grief, sometimes the very same words

Mean something different to each of us.

Or we find ourselves searching for words

That do not exist, or are simply inadequate

At naming those moments of need so great

We can barely breathe. Still, we have begun

To speak of what, despite those differences,

Is shocking but common to us both—how

The naked openness of our feelings in grief

Has returned us to an intimacy like the one

We felt with our newborns. There’s a raw tenderness

Between us now in the words we speak

At the end of our day, as if we were both writing

To our dead son, even as we allow ourselves

To be sealed in sleep, like an envelope to be

Placed in the mailbox, flag up, an envelope

With two different love letters inside.

Robert Cording

Snapshots of the Tree of Life
For better, for worse