The Invention of Grief

There are no closet doors to open to new secrets.  

No chests to unlock, then bury in a neighborhood sandbox.

A bed is helpful or, better yet, a couch.

And, of course, a necklace of unsaid things for everyday wear.

And salt if you can find a sharing alchemist.

Also, swallow voices when you sit down to drink.

And each will have a different bitterness.

And each will change the texture of all you know.

Think of moving. Pack your boxes. Throw them away.

Pack ghost boxes. They can be company for you and all your chairs.

Mike James has been widely published in magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His thirteen poetry collections include: Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He has served as an associate editor for the Kentucky Review and Autumn House Press, as well as the publisher of the now defunct Yellow Pepper Press. He makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. More information can be found on his website at