TENDING GRIEF AT THE GREAT SALT LAKE, A RITUAL by Kathryn Knight Sonntag
Clouds unspool above light
Departing. Salt makes diviners of gulls,
Tiny archways of bones, pooling sockets
Long emptied by sun’s fire. A circle
Of strangers, we imbue our grief
Into stick, feather, and stone. I long
To be emptied, to not fear this cold, which is
To not fear its memory.
This lake is memory. The couple
Next to me sees into the watery
Expanse their son alive again, or grey
Still, as the waves. Salt is so many wings.
Hair whips my face. I loose myself
Like the sand, lifting in eddies, blurring
The line of earth and sky—one firmament
Abstracting the other. Lean into gales,
Release your vestiges to the brine. Wail.
Who is to say we do not feel the edges
Of the made world, that we are not
Recomposed as wind covers us with her
Orbiting tale. I am faceted, not cold: I
Resist nothing. No one survives, yet
Everyone does. Sulfur in our noses,
Crystals caking boots, the sting of lake inside
Millions of ribcages, speaking here is
The aura of the world.
Speaking, this is what it is to be
Inside. The light—