I have held this grief so long
grasped in my hand
turning it over and over
plying it with pressure, stretching it, pulling it
enjoying the feel of it oozing and sticking in my fingers

I could feel the consistency change
feel this malleable dough become
stiffer, brittle at the edges
more difficult to knead
until it was a rock, cold and heavy

I looked down to see
this natural grief had become an
unnatural fear
leaden, a burden
a shame I wanted to hide but now part of me

But caught in a shower
of mercy, grace
my hand
disfigured and cramped from clenching this stone

the rain softened it
grace made it pliable again
mercy released it from my grasp
and I ate it

I took this fear into me
tasted it, let it roll on my tongue
slide into my belly
salty as my tears
a slight tang, sweetness
a tart aftertaste

it metabolized in my body
wisdom flowed in my veins
nutrients of experience and patience fed me
and my miraculous soul
filtered out the guilt
expelled the shame

my body grew stronger
my heart quickened
my muscles relaxed

taking it in
transforming it and me
with the power to live and move and have my being