February 28, 2011
In June of 2006, Ona’s beloved nephew, Nick, was stabbed to death. Nick, Ona says, embodied the new male paradigm: strong and smart, with heart of gold (well, she wrote “a heart of god,” which we both like even better), and a smile that illuminated everything around him.
Ona says she sometimes misses his physical presence so much that she feels like “a Picasso, twisted, with a huge hole in my chest and an ache that has no name.”
She wrote this poem in response to my invitation to sit inside the fire of grief.
|Inside and Surrounded
I live with the wound every day, every breath.
It has become an integral part of the fiber of my being.
It has opened me, tearing me raw like a can opener tears at the metal of a can –
jagged edges which in turn tear flesh.
It bothers some people that I cry easily –
the opening of the wound has made me not care.
I weep, in deep pain or joy – they both look the same.
This wound has tended me,
has shaped me into a woman I do not remember being –
it has redistributed my molecular structure to the core.
I sit in it, surrounded by it:
it is the hole torn in my chest that lets in the universe.
The child that was,
the flesh that resembled my face (though born of my sister’s body),
the towering strength of running back force
does not stand before me any longer,
yet he informs my every breath.
Somehow being in the wound has brought me even closer to him.
In the physical separation the bond that is deepest abides.
To sit in the wound, permeated by its informing,
is to look into Nick’s eyes
through to the realm of expansion and listen …