“Under the Veil of Mourning” by Deanna Clayton.

Sculpture in cast glass by Deanna Clayton

We used to do it openly.
Women in a young America
made mourning pictures,
embroidered, painted, crafted
with patience and skill. They hung
in parlors or hallways. Made room
for communal talk about the lives
that formed our own. Expressed
our sense of loss in human figures
bending humbly toward the grave,
a graceful willow present for rebirth.

Just so, this bust calls out to memory.
Saddened eyes and downturned lips
define this face of whitened glass
under a mantilla of turquoise
and copper that surrounds
grief, protects privacy,

preserves the memories
we cannot fully share but know
because we’ve seen that look
on other faces, felt it on our own.

It is a gift to those who have not
stopped to ponder sorrow long enough,
an invitation to sit with it awhile
to know what makes us human.