Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review


Photos become a metronome filled with sand.

Hand and feet and knuckle the knobs and burls of an oak cut down for the fireplace.

Hair from red to yellow to white to nothing.

The wood stove grows so cold it traps birds, the illusion of safety in a summer storm.

It used to glow bright against the valleys of your smile,

A fire all winter long, so hot the family was gifted a second sun.

How do you free a soul from the floorboards of a house it never left?

The ghosts you carefully studied flutter from floor to floor. 

They listen from the grate, false fingers pinched between wrought-iron vines.

Did you get to meet them before you went away?

Light shifts through a blue-glass bottle in the shape of a violin.

It sits on a thin ledge above the sink.

Cooking clutter, children bumping into cupboards, knives, rolling pins, marinade.

Nothing could ever make it fall. But it’s empty. It didn’t used to be.

Faucets leak and are fixed by hands that are not your own.

The daffodils came and went with a snap of father time’s fingers.

Clovers spring up beneath your daughter’s feet as though to cushion her as she walks.

I see a man gardening and cry because his back has the same curve as yours.

In between is empty space and then the sudden rush of a river underground

We’ve turned into water-seekers, fork-shaped branches in our hands

As we search and search for you

Gwynn Frisbie-Firsching is a fourth-year Creative Writing major. She wrote “Grief” after her grandfather’s passing in 2020. Each image in the poem is specific to her grandfather’s hobbies, passions, and home. She hopes to portray the universality of grief in everyday life while also honoring her grandfather.

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