I think my heart is broken

It hurts me all the time

It stutters when it should thump

Crackles like safety glass

My right knee is numb

along the right side down

from owl to beanstalk inked in black

And green, and yellow.

Is it possible to have psychosomatic symptoms

if you’re aware of them?


I sat in my Comet (Mercury Caliente, 1965. Sublime)

for hours, for days listening to a’ha

Take on me

He surprised me with the cassette tape only

days before his death. I wore out two copies

but only kept the one.

I always cry when I hear it.

Pavlovian response, or grief?


I’m several days without crying

And can’t figure out why. Days at the beach

Love, and love and love.

A raven whispering messages, and

quorking on the deck.

Superheroes viewed from recliners,

in the dark. Dinner out. Sangria. Cake.

Happiness is as strong as grief.


I see a picture. Tears come

buckets. A whole sea of them

My heart is broken.

My knee is numb.

I am happy, still, sometimes, in any event.



Filed under poetry

9 responses to “Psychosomatic

  1. Such a powerful poem. I feel it in my chest. I’m sitting here crying. So sad for you. So grateful for our friendship.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Oh, honey! I hate making you cry! I wrote this last week and scheduled it for today because I wasn’t sure I wanted to let it go live, then forgot. Oy. Gotta stop doing that.


  2. Beverly Diem Fasig

    Beautiful emotions spelled out in words, by a very loving and strong Mother. Thank you for sharing this with us! Hugs!


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      🙂 Thanks, Bev. Once again, I wrote this and forgot I’d scheduled it to go up sometime in the future. LOL. I really need to stop doing that.


  3. Mark Nelson

    Grief startled me yesterday,
    A flicker from the side, like spotting a spider intent on its own business
    At the intersection of its world and mine.
    The moment gave me pause
    To remember.
    And so I walked again on old paths, watered with new tears.
    And yet there is still Katharsis
    Though my grieving self would dispute
    My thinking self knows the truth.
    And that, too, is part of the gift.
    Loss is a spiral upward for the lucky and the strong.
    Tears will dry faster than memories fade.
    All is part of the gift.


  4. Kelly Ramsdell

    Beautiful. Reminded me in its first question of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent commencement speech, in which he relates a story about his shoulder, which was just what you described – physical pain caused by stress (in his case). It reminded me in its effect of one of my other favorite poems about grief (not an oxymoron, though it should be), “Michiko Dead” by Jack Gilbert.

    Michiko Dead
    He manages like somebody carrying a box
    that is too heavy, first with his arms
    underneath. When their strength gives out,
    he moves the hands forward, hooking them
    on the corners, pulling the weight against
    his chest. He moves his thumbs slightly
    when the fingers begin to tire, and it makes
    different muscles take over. Afterward,
    he carries it on his shoulder, until the blood
    drains out of the arm that is stretched up
    to steady the box and the arm goes numb. But now
    the man can hold underneath again, so that
    he can go on without ever putting the box down.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      This is so beautiful, Kelly. So simple and practical, and so full of courage. Thank you so much for sharing it with me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s