the black shawl

I've worn this shawl before. Each time, but not by choice.

It weighs me down and pulls me back.

It quiets my inner voice.

The sky grows dark, the colors pale.

The songs of birds sound dim.

I walk with my shawl, through normal days

it pushing down my breath.

No one can see it, though universal it may be.

The shawl of grief is heavy and long, endless and bound,

or stinging and brief, but it falls on both you and me.

I cannot choose when to take it off, just over time it's me,

and just when I still think it's there, I find that I can breathe.

It somehow left without my knowing. Between a laugh, a smile, or sigh.

Leaving me stronger

and braver

and free.

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