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Moving forward into the life you create in the wake of loss

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Companion Spirit

Jan Haag teaches journalism and creative writing at Sacramento City College where she is the chair of the journalism department and advises student publications. She is the author of Companion Spirit, a collection of poems about her husband’s death at the age of 48, published by Amherst Writers & Artists Press. She leads writing groups in Sacramento where the topic of grief and loss often arises. Read more of her beautiful writing here.

walking in the
front door
i have to catch myself
at the threshold—
the first breath inside,
i inhale you.

another step, woozy
with the scent of dog
and wood shavings,
i breathe again

you
here

i call your name,
hoping
but there is
no answer
no dog
no wood
except the oak
tables you
crafted by hand,
the shavings long
swept away

i pause in
our living room
barely breathing
heart thudding

though there is
no vision
no voice
you’ve made an
appearance

inhaling you
again, i use
your line when
you’d first hear my
voice on the phone:

“there you are”

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