In the Wake: a Poem

grief poem for coronavirus
Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

In the Wake

A poem written at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic

You’re having a celebration of life
But I’m here for the funeral
I’m here for the firm voice
of the priest squaring my shoulders
and telling me

It’s okay to grieve

It’s okay to grieve the things you wanted
the things you no longer have
even as the death knell
echoes through empty streets
and the city shuts down

It’s okay to grieve the handshakes
and spitting laughter – the bear hugs
even though you’re lucky
to be safe in your home with a stash
of toilet paper

It’s okay to grieve the knowledge
that your grief is nothing
like the grief of the dying and
the ones who love them
– to hate yourself for grieving

It’s okay to grieve the sorrow
of not being able to attend the funeral
of not being able to grieve
of being alone in your grief
to sit with your grief

And it’s okay to hope, too
To feel the tickling urge
to say, “it’s okay,”
When nothing is or ever has been

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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