The Next Stage of Grief

by Elizabeth Kanell


This is the other shore. Already I am forgetting
the slick wet surfaces of stepping-stones,
boot soles slipping, body toppling, slap, splash.
Instead, land plants tug and scratch. Vines catch.
One arm waves for balance; one hand clutches
a branch. Probe. Stir. Send snakes fleeing.

This is muddier than I expected. Saturated
with yesterday’s rain. Wisps of ground mist
drift and rustle, soft scraps of sorrow dressed
in silver gray, silken. If I can just get past
the tangle near the waters. If I can just pretend
I know where I am going.

Elizabeth Kanell lives in northeastern Vermont among rivers, rocks, and a lot of writers. Her poems seek comfortable seats in small, well-lit places, recently including Lilith Magazine, The Post-Grad Journal, Does It Have Pockets?, Anti-Heroin Chic, Ritualwell, Persimmon Tree, Northwind Treasury, and Rise Up Review. One of her poems was runner-up for the 2024 Steve Kowit Prize. Find her memoirs on Medium, and her reviews at the New York Journal of Books and Historical Novels Review. She also writes feature articles, short stories, and novels—most recently, This Ardent Flame and The Long Shadow.