One, there is the shadow of a door left partly open
or the morning coming through a window onto an empty bed, an empty chair.
Two, there is a dresser once full of socks and sweaters, a drawer opened
to triangular shadows cast, bereft except perhaps for a forgotten button, a single thread.
Three is grief within, where no shadows nor sun can fall.
Four is the shadows cast at noon, a single tea cup, an overripe pear or banana.
Five becomes six and seven shadows if you walk past a tree that whispers a name,
or eight griefs become a dozen if a butterfly lands on a particular flower
and the wind scatters shadows across your path.
From twelve, each step you take reminds you of other mornings, other doors,
other flowers and cups of tea,
for each substance of a grief hath
and not even twenty ships can carry that much sadness to twenty shores.