Karen Craigo

The Customs of Grief

Because I’ve spent some time there,
someone asked me today about grief
and its customs. I thought of it then
as a line at the airport, where you dare
not sneak in the barbed, misshapen fruit
of that country, nor its national dress
made of ashes, nor its currency,
which you carve from your own skin
like an apple peel that you try to keep
in one piece. I have a lot to declare—
I’ve smuggled more than I can carry,
though I know I’ll be back many times,
maybe take up residence by its salt sea,
its anthem thick on my tongue.