Joanne Diaz


The news of the death
                                    broke down the barriers           of endurance.

                I lacked the
patience          to represent     that degree of grief:
                                                             wretched mother
                                                             at last transformed into a rock.

            The impact,
                       the hot alarm              of the soul—
my senses
                       subtle fire,
                       my ears,
                                              both eyes
the body weighed down
   by the surprise—

            such an excess
                                    of human frailty.


[Note: This is an erasure of Michel de Montaigne’s essay “Of Sadness.”]

Joanne Diaz

has contributed poems to AGNI, The American Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, and Third Coast. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her book, The Lessons, won the Gerald Cable first book award and was published in 2011 by Silverfish Review Press.