I used to be a cryer

I would weep during hymns
I would tear up at commercials
I cried whenever a children’s choir sang, years before I became a mother

I would cry reading certain poignant picture books to my kids
They would look up at me, puzzled. Sometimes my daughter would pat my back,
sweetly

I have been no stranger to heaving, angry sobs
To the kind of crying that devolves into snot and a pounding head and a sore throat
The kind that is like an exorcism

I have wept in my car
Sometimes while driving
Sometimes parked outside something I didn’t want to face

I have cried in the shower to camouflage my sadness

 

Lately
no tears will come

Not for lack of reasons to despair, lament, mourn
for there are plenty
more than enough

Yet instead of streaming down my cheeks
Only a stingy drop or two fills my eyes
Only enough to sting
not to cleanse

I envy your cathartic crying that comes so often now
and why shouldn’t it?

Tonight, listening to a familiar favorite folk singer
observing that all her songs sounded more melancholy than I’d heard them before
understanding why,
I squeezed my eyes closed
watching the silhouettes form behind my eyelids–
a turtle, an archer, a waitress serving pie

Sensing an enormous reservoir
of unshed tears
rising, rising