Cathy Porter: “How to Rewrite Grief,” “Long Overdue”

Cathy Porter writes: Over the years, Joe has been wonderfully supportive of the poetry I have submitted to GHLL. Joe took a chance on me some years back, and he is, in my opinion, a true literary icon in the field! I’m sure his students will miss him. So, I wanted to send a couple of my favorites that he picked for GHLL over the years: ‘How To Rewrite Grief” (2020) and “Long Overdue” (2019). Thanks again Joe!!



How to Rewrite Grief


Start with the word itself –

scatter the letters over the floor,

twist them in knots not even

a boy scout could undo, or —

pretend they’re good luck pieces;

carry them in your pockets,

show them off on special

occasions, rub as needed —

admire the crooked back of ‘G’ —

the rigidity of ‘I’ between comrades,

give fist-bumps, group hugs;

resist the urge to bust them

all in the face – a hit as powerful

as the day your territory was invaded,

and time became another

word that needed a re-write.



Long Overdue

Blue sky crowns

Milkweed afternoons

I pause for you to catch up

Run with me through

The old days

When midnight roams

Behind closed doors

We lie down

Beneath broken windows

Angels shake us awake

How many times can we pray?

Behind every eye

Is a boat ready to sink

We arrive at the ends of the earth

Skip past vacant lots

Paved over for winter



Cathy Porter’s poetry has appeared in Plainsongs, Homestead Review,California Quarterly,Hubbub, Cottonwood, Comstock Review,and various other journals.The Dash Between Us is her latest chapbook from Finishing Line Press: A Life In The Day and Dust And Angels appeared in 2012 and 2014. She has two chapbooks published by Dancing Girl Press in Chicago: Exit Songs (2016), and 16 Days (2019), as well as The Skin Of Uncertainty (2020) from Maverick Duck Press. Her chapbook Bodies Of One Breath is forthcoming in 2023 from Dancing Girl Press. Cathy has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes. She lives in Omaha, NE.