Vox Populi

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Judith A. Brice: Berries, Bittersweet

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things…

“Kindness” — Naomi Shihab Nye


After they’d split my brain,

mended the artery that burst

asunder and left me without

whispers and thoughts,

it was only your kindness, my therapist,

that cajoled me back,

together with Kiri’s lilt, Galway’s flute

and Danny Boy

yes, coaxed me

to listen to song and words

so I might speak again

consonant by consonant,

syllable by syllable,

word by word.


And when you, my husband,

have witnessed me go suddenly blind,

need the curtains down, the lights

turned off, what tenderness takes you,

touches you again and beyond

to fetch the ice

for my migrainous head,

the towel for my sick torment?

Such, your kindness.


As, that time you, my delicate

companion, my tiny feline gray one,

gave up your last and silent

breath and left us.

Then, as if by chance, that very day

your feathered partner came,

displayed his full bluebird glory

for us to see and tapped in code

at the freezing, attic window,

even pecked at the bittersweet

berries, blown on the sill.


Copyright 2017 Judith Brice. First published in Bear River Review. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

Judith Brice is a retired Pittsburgh psychiatrist. She is the author of two collections of poems: Renditions in a Palette and Overhead from Longing.


3 comments on “Judith A. Brice: Berries, Bittersweet

  1. James Justeson
    December 30, 2018

    A very special poem and Happy Birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tricia Knoll
    December 29, 2018

    Amazement, again, at synchronicity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. universalpantry
    December 29, 2018

    Thank you. A lovely, poignant read. (I can almost hear Judy’s sweet, lilting voice while reading.)

    Liked by 1 person

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