Shelley Blue Grabel

Random Fact:

Every two weeks, another language or dialect goes extinct.

The language that only you
and I spoke went extinct
The moment you died
I am already forgetting
our syntax

Who will understand that phrase I use on a
Rainy day with the dogs pinning us in bed and you
Struggling not to laugh

The language is slipping that you and I spoke
On hidden trails in Pennsylvania
On dangerous bridges in Fairbanks
On road trips south and losing our way

I am scooping up phrases
and words made up words
they spill from my hands
Like skittles

We thought the weatherman hilarious
when he said blustery and
we heard blistery
We loved the word heinous for no reason

How long did it take me
To learn
that your language
Hid no secrets from me

You said what you said
I heard what I heard
And now here I am
Wishing for those
Unintended slights
those fights
Until bed When
we’d leave language behind

You and I had differences
You and I had words
You and I gave words
To each other
Our language is going extinct
I cannot transcribe it or
Salvage old tapes
I can only retrieve the pieces
I stored in my heart not those
That went with you that day

Who knew you were a whole book
Waiting for me to write
Just this
Right now
Right here

Shelley Blue Grabel has been writing poetry since she learned to write. In 1975 Persephone Press published The Fourteenth Witch, a book of Shelley’s poems with photographs by Deborah Snow. In 2022, Broadkill River Press published a new collection of her work, Dowry Burnings. She has performed her poetry in NYC coffee houses, Philadelphia venues, Irish Eyes, Lewes Library, Rehoboth Writers Guild Night of Poetry and Song, Milton Poetry Fest and other local venues. She continues to develop her poetic style thanks to workshops and retreats sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts.