Healing Will Come: Elegy after Natural Disaster

She searches the ruins like someone
who has wandered so far away.

Six children, I had six children,
she tells herself. All around, her world
has become twigs of splintered pieces
of a long-ago life,
                         not so long ago.

She lays down one child alongside another
child, alongside another,
but then, she stands there, wiping her
eyes, looking ahead, turning over

the ruins of pieces of a place that once
was, in the ruins of a life that once was.
But they were six children, she says,
                         six, dead, or alive.

A mother knows what it means
to have six, not three, but six living
children, not three only, dead,
and there, the tears, calming for now,
calming, for now.

What would I do without tears,
I used to ask myself in another world.
What would she do without tears,
I now ask myself, and now,
the water from her eyes, unlike
                         the water that has taken
everything away with it.

Somewhere, always, somewhere,
there’s a day when healing comes.
Wasn’t this what life was supposed to bring,
after death, the healing?
Healing refuses to be lost to death,
I say, healing will come.
More Poems by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley