I Grieve That Grief Can Teach Me Nothing

Brian Simoneau

Road stippled with rain, I slam imaginarybrakes in the back seat. Sparrows in bushesand I'm breathless, scanning for bear, cougar—something to explain the brain's involuntarycircling the drain, a hole I can't fathom.I'm sick and tired of dying—tired of its gripon the belly's pit, sick of the shiverit slips between beats, the ceiling's spinbefore the heart settles back to its rhythmand muscles unclench. In bed I used to prayfor everyone to make it through the night.Now I lie awake and wait for day to break.Say something, I beg the dead, tell meit's easier in the moment to let it gobut they have no promise to give, and the listof names grows daily longer until I knowto live is to gather dying about myselflike a quilt in the night, like sheets, like skin.

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Brian Simoneau is the author of the poetry collections No Small Comfort (Black Lawrence Press, 2021) and River Bound (C&R Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Salamander, Waxwing, and other journals. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, he lives near Boston with his family.

The cover of No Small Comfort

New York, New York

"In Simoneau’s new book of quiet lyrics, we find the kind that mark the minutes we hold our breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Semblance, similitude, synchronicity: / everything comes together until what / happens is nothing special, nothing new.” That’s certainly not true here, where Simoneau does what every good poet knows in their bones—he’s made us see it new."
—Keetje Kuipers

"No Small Comfort is a dazzling meditation on what it means to be alive now on Earth, or even to be alive with the Earth as the natural world lives quite vibrantly in these pages—freezing and thawing, crackling and blooming. Each poem becomes its own landscape of grief, tension, and beauty, charged with a powerful and overflowing reverence."
—Matthew Olzmann

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