02/10/2015 01:07 pm ET Updated Apr 12, 2015

After Mira

It's been a year since we lost our beloved dog-child Mira. During this time, we have learned even more about the nature of grief and loss, and how no one is exempt from these tender journeys. This poem speaks to what I've learned.

After Mira

One day, we think we dare to love
but find we've already given our heart
and have no choice but to work our fingers
in that unexpected garden. And unimaginable
things grow, through us, within us. However
long the entwining of aliveness lasts, we feel
light and blessed, like the one dragonfly
allowed to light on the one lily pad floating
on the one calm patch of lake. And in some
moment below all we've been taught, we
know Heaven is wherever the heart gives
itself away and waits. Then, after what seems
a lifetime and always too soon, what we love
dies or goes away and the tectonic plates on
which our life stands break and heave and
the heart we so freely gave, entangled with
the world, is ripped apart. Nothing makes
sense while in this rearranging pain. Nothing.
No matter what others say, nothing is of com-
fort while the heart is reforged in the furnace
no one asks for, as the fire slowly refashions
our eyes. Under it all, some infinite part of
us knows that this too, painful as it is, is the
inexplicable continuance of love: how moun-
tains crumble into valleys, how fires become
the bed of seeds yet to be sown, how lovers
are stilled into their wisdom, how that which
reaches for the stars becomes its own light.
Against our will, our heart is remade by the
angel of grief who fists the center of our life,
shaking everything dead within us from our
branches, until the heart condenses to a
diamond. Hard as this is to endure,
this too is a miracle.

A Question to Walk With: How do you experience loss? Is it impacting you now? What has the ache of loss opened in you?

For more poetry for the soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.