Saeed Jones sights grief through several lenses in Alive at the End of the World, his 2022 poetry collection.
There’s the grief felt collectively after the Pulse nightclub shooting. There’s the relentless grief unspooling from his mother’s death. There’s the grief that has caused Jones so much pain that he must funnel it into his writing–a strategy that works until the day his pain shows up on his couch, fully formed like his doppelganger and asking questions. It’s a tough collection to read, but it’s also rewarding if you go in for self-reflection and honesty:
Seems like I’m always hurting. Nothing
but teeth. Nothing but the same words calling out to me
in my sleep. Grief asking its ghosts not to leave. Please.
It’s not up to me when I get to stop crying. Or hurting.
Or holding memories in my mouth, gentle as bees
I promised not to eat, but oh, the hurt is so sweet.