Just This Once

I’m digging deep.
Trying, hoping to become
what I think you want me to be.

I’m holding tight.
Gasping, desperate to breathe.
Daring myself to become more.

I’m reaching, stretching
begging for your hand.
More than just an idea
or an artist or a passing fancy.

I’m digging deep.
Spreading myself thin.
Reckless almost.
Frantic to find the ledge.

Praying just this once
you’ll see deeper into me.

tara caribou | ©2021


Hiya! I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce that my collection of poetry ‘Falling Sleet’ has just been published! It is currently …


Spring Break-Up Photography

The river finally broke up.
I’m often struck with awe on the rare days the ocean is glassy calm like this.
Storm across the inlet.
Reflection as the tide goes down.
Beached ice from the river, left behind as the tide receded.
But the sun is quickly melting them away.
Most of the local waterfalls have thawed.
Shining through the crack.
Enormous cottonwood growing down through boulders. I’ve got photos of these trees from the late nineties and it was huge then. These are the roots.
Root, rock, root, rock. I wonder when this boulder will finally break apart.
We all know I’m a sucker for foamy water on rocks.
My peace.

tara caribou | ©2021

All photos by me.

Ten Years

Ten years.
It doesn’t feel like ten years.
My body remembers.
Remembers like it was a few months ago.

My chest remembers.
The ache.
The brokenness.
The questions.
The tears… oh god, the tears.

Somehow it was my fault, I’m sure of it.
I’ll never forgive myself.
I don’t expect anyone else to either.

Longing became joy became fear became… emptiness.

Ten years.
Ten years ago, I learned love.
Ten years ago, love left me.
Ten years ago, I became someone new.

It sneaks up on you.
The grief.
The memories.
It sneaks up and pounces and shakes you between its teeth.

I get back up, bruised and shredded.
I’m a better person now, I mutter. I’ve grown.
Yes, I get back up and stumble.

Maybe today I’m on my knees.
But I get back up and keep walking.

tara caribou | ©2021

Okay… this is the last grief post from me for a while… I think. I feel bad, kinda, for off-loading all this on my readers. Thanks for reading and your continued kindness.

Grief Held

The loss was so profound
So deep
So all-encompassing that it
For a time
As if the tears would

“Will I ever stop crying?”
I asked the world in general
In poured the platitudes
The endearments
The empty gestures
And then she spoke up from the midst
“Never. You’ll never stop crying.”
How dare she say such a thing!
That’s not
What I wanted to hear
No one else said it…
And yet
Within those unwanted words rang
She walked a parallel road
To my own
She must speak Truth and Experience

If then I am to cry
For my remaining days
I must

I closed my eyes
Visualized my intense overwhelming
It was the shape of an egg
And glowed
I reached out
Plucked it from where it hovered
Before me
Before my eyes
I held it
Within the palms of my
Trembling hands
I embraced it
Cradled it
Stroked it gently
Pulled it to my chest
And there I placed it
Pushing it
Deep inside
Right next to my whimpering heart

In that moment
I made my grief
A part of me
From that breath on
No worse
Nor better
It does not define me
But it IS a part of me

And then
I was able to take that
Step forward
Weak and tired
Feet dragging
But it was still

And now
I keep going

tara caribou | ©2021

Ten years and my heart is heavy.

So Small for a Love So Large

When I held him in my arms, he was so small. So small. I cried oh god how I cried. I asked, is there anything we can do?

The doctor said, I’m sorry no, he’s just too small. I cried harder. Please, I’ll do anything, anything at all. Please. Please! Save him! Let him live, I’ll do anything.

But the doctor said, I’m so sorry.

And a nurse said, you need to hold your baby while you can. And they kept listening to his heart. And listening as my body convulsed and shivered.

As blood flowed and machines whirred and beeped. As people came and went. As I stared. As I cried. As I felt so very cold. As my body betrayed me. As the doctor reached his hand inside me. As I willed him to take a breath and cry with me. As his pink skin turned purple.

Until the last time the nurse listened to his heart and murmured, time 7:32pm. I would have done anything to save his life. Anything. Why…. a million whys. I will always love him.

tara caribou | ©2021

Ten years and my heart is heavy.

Memories in Withdrawal

When they placed him in my arms, he weighed nothing at all

I didn’t even know how to hold him

The moment I looked into his face, I felt something burst and bloom in my heart

Something I had never felt before and never have since

Even today I feel the tug of his existence on mine

Like a rope tied to my heart, pulling right through my ribs and far far far away

“He’s the smallest baby I’ve ever seen”

The priest tried to reassure me

Gentle pats on my arm

I saw his faith was shaken

His voice trembling as he began to speak

Before closing his mouth, half-uttered thoughts he’d said a hundred times before

His eyes never leaving the face of my son

One last tap on my wrist

And he shuffled out of my room

Head hung low, defeated

Sometimes I held him tightly

Sometimes I couldn’t look at him

Rolling to my side, my back towards him

Periodically a nurse would come wrap him in another warm blanket, giving me a false sense of life resting upon my chest

I didn’t know the human body could create so many tears

Tears on the doctor’s face

Tears on the nurse’s

Tears in the eyes of anesthesiologist who held my hand as I drifted into a blissful dreamless sleep

Tears on his blanket

Tears in my hair

Tears in my voice

Tears ten years later as I remember what I had gained and lost in one evening

I remember the annoyance on the face of a man sitting in the ER waiting room as I tried to answer the receptionist’s questions past my screams of pain and fear

I remember how small he was as they placed him in my arms and told me that I should hold him in these his only moments of life

I remember I didn’t know how to hold him

He was so small

He never even fought to live, so I fought for him

“Isn’t there ANYTHING you can do? I’ll do anything, anything at all,” I pleaded

Even still, eventually I placed him in the corner of the bassinet and turned to leave the room, never to return

I stroked his cheek, his chin, I told him I loved him

Walking away from him was the hardest thing I ever did

I still feel like I betrayed him, there in the end

tara caribou | ©2021

It’s ten years and my heart is heavy.

Then and Now

your nails, like claws
through. my. brain.

tearing out
every hidden part of me
you see
all the deepest bits of me

digging in,
your fingers
leave behind furrows
and trails
bloody bits

and me, I stare
drool dripping down
a foam-flecked chin

I was impenetrable
I was strong
I was an artist

before you, I am transparent
minced and shredded

I am nothing.
I am helpless.
I am a burden.
I am poetry.
I am …. you.

tara caribou | ©2021

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