Intersections of grief, by Diana Dima


in my language moartea e marea                  death is the sea
and the sea is mare, vastness                         that will swallow us all

in my language moartea e mareea                death is the tide
a shifting of matter                                        that must always return

in my language Maria, marea mea                she, named like the sea
is returned to the vastness,                            and becomes the sea

in my language Maria a murit                       and there is no sadness
in seafoam arms, today                                 she holds me as ever


only in English do I crumble,
            cut myself on shards of words:

                         Maria has died in
                                     a hospital bed

                                                  far from the sea
                                                      far from home
                                                                   far from


in no language are there any words
for the the low-growling blackness, the opening of jaws
between waves—niciun cuvânt destul de întunecos

and when the sea swallows your past and your future,
you would say anything but the right word:
passed, departed, stins, adormit

a kindness, how the sea fog of language
fills that terrible hollow, so that you believe
she lingers on, nu încă amintire

but in drifting between languages, it finds you
suddenly, the sharp truth—the wave crest
at the intersection of: death, moarte.


there is a sea beyond all words: golden with sun and memory
and us swimming and the future—the future, as far as we can see.

Diana Dima is a writer and neuroscientist living in Canada. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, khōréō magazine, and elsewhere. You can find her online at or as @dimafic on Bluesky.

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