to love life



to love life, to love it even 
when you have no stomach for it 
and everything you’ve held dear 
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, 
your throat filled with the silt of it. 
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat 
thickening the air, heavy as water 
more fit for gills than lungs; 
when grief weights you like your own flesh 
only more of it, an obesity of grief, 
you think, How can a body withstand this? 
Then you hold life like a face 
between your palms, a plain face, 
no charming smile, no violet eyes, 
and you say, yes, I will take you 
I will love you, again.” 
— Ellen Bass

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