By Lou Garcia-Dolnik

30 April, 2021

Lou Garcia-Dolnik is Running Dog’s poet in residence for March and April 2021.

Each month, a poet produces new work, which is distributed via Running Dog’s monthly newsletter—Stray. If you haven’t already, sign up to our newsletter.

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depart when none left


This poem is interactive. Hover, click or tap on each square multiple times to reveal new layers and complete the puzzle.1

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Grief Music

– After Diana Khoi Nguyen

This poem was originally commissioned for Vignettes, the Emerging Writers’ Festival audio series, in 2020.  It has been reproduced here in dialogue with ‘depart when none left’.


you don’t talk to me
like you used to you don’t talk—a
sinking ship making communion with unspok
en endings you turn out grey and winged on windowsills,
the trough undoing the tide of itself and your enclosing frame
counting the seconds between this body and the next             to cons
ider you i hollow dreams waking to words spoke unspoken:   you turn
out rubbed and unrendered damn spot hiding where i cannot naphthalene
my limbs being too short and the bees piling too high to obscure the memo
ry of you, your means of bludgeoning the night with the drone of your pinions
spinning out from themselves. bees are not moths though I live for each drown
ing, bayonets turning within me each accretion as i cannot turn you out of him.
i cannot turn you out of him and so lift the boundary of your life as sleep from e
yes without having slept save your humming in the recesses of how and what n
ext          to attenuate the deluge of bees I bind macula to retina and watch them
become unhalved of their wholes.  we become unhalved of our whole. the pin p
ricks drawing patinas, a botanic music            yes, this hurts too. to ask who bea
rs witness to the watcher as I watch you riddled of him. i watch him riddle you
r hands of their gentle offering unanswering why won’t you answer me   tell
ing in how i never told you i never told you how much      i never told you
how much i loved you until i was unloved by you. whole and unopened
i grieve you unanswered and before your ending. i grieve you whole
and unopened by me, the needle drop snagged where you unr
iddle yourself of your love for me unended we end unloved
by  endings  we  end by loving endings we  end a
sunken  ship  with  hollows  on  windowsills
we  end  unloved  with  endings  ended
we end


Listen to Lou read ‘Grief Music’ on Vignettes episode 4.

  1. Image and text attributions left to right:
    ‘Summer Vhs GIF By Evewear’: https://giphy.com/gifs/evewear-summer-vhs-F3LuIoVXgKAxHS3zFv
    Excerpt from ‘The Glass Essay’, Anne Carson
    https:// giphy. com/gifs/night-rain-rainy-day-qHWAmPd3SWyY0
    Excerpt from ‘Aubade and Elegy’, Elizabeth Bishop

    Excerpt from ‘[All night I hear the noise of water sobbing]’, Alejandra Pizarnik