It cut through the cool, quiet afternoon

with such intense clarity

that both the dogs and I stopped in our tracks

to look in the direction from where it came.

A woman’s voice




cried out from a big house

down a small street

at the edge of town.

I knew almost instantly

it was not a cry for help

because I had rattled my own walls very recently

with similar sounds

when news of my mother’s death reached me

and I was forced to face it alone

thousands of miles from what once was home.

Instinctively I wanted to move toward her sorrow

offer comfort

offer company

but I knew such new pain

needed to be tempered with solitude


time to process

and purge.

I looked up and down the streets

for someone


who might have heard her wails

and shared my heartache

as helpless witness

to such profound sadness.

But no one was about

just the dogs and me

and I suddenly felt intrusive

and newly stricken by my recent loss,

so on we moved

each step ushering its own fresh tears

coming stronger and stronger

as the sounds of her fierce despair

faded into the distance.

Her pain

is now entwined with mine

two unacquainted mourners

ever connected in our losses

in our sorrows.

Each time I pass her street

and recall her suffering

I feel her presence

(though a stranger to mine)

and am trusting time

has eased her pain

her tears

the grief.