By Laurel Chen

after Gwendolyn Brooks

My wild grief didn’t know where to end.

Everywhere I looked: a field alive and unburied.

Whole swaths of green swallowed the light.

All around me, the field was growing. I grew out

My hair in every direction. Let the sun freckle my face.

Even in the greenest depths, I crouched

Towards the light. That summer, everything grew

So alive and so alone. A world hushed in green.

Wildest grief grew inside out.

I crawled to the field’s edge, bruises blooming

In every crevice of my palms.

I didn’t know I’d reached a shoreline till I felt it

There: A salt wind lifted

The hair from my neck.

At the edge of every green lies an ocean.

When I saw that blue, I knew then:

This world will end.

Grief is not the only geography I know.

Every wound closes. Repair comes with sweetness,

Come spring. Every empire will fall:

I must believe this. I felt it

Somewhere in the field: my ancestors

Murmuring Go home, go home—soon, soon.

No country wants me back anymore and I’m okay.

If grief is love with nowhere to go, then

Oh, I’ve loved so immensely.

That summer, everything I touched

Was green. All bruises will fade

From green and blue to skin.

Let me grow through this green

And not drown in it.

Let me be lawless and beloved,

Ungovernable and unafraid.

Let me be brave enough to live here.

Let me be precise in my actions.

Let me feel hurt.

I know I can heal.

Let me try again—again and again.

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