My Grief Monster

a poem

2 min readApr 27, 2022


An aged skull sits in the right side of the photo with a white background. It is sitting back and at an angle to the camera.

Nikita talks about nurturing and loving the

“painful monster” that is grief — “a thing with fangs.

I perseverate on this idea while grappling

with my own grief monster

that has mutated into a

polycephalic creature

sprouting a new head

like the cancer

threatening to overtake Granny.

My grief monster is a bureau

of future losses — my job, newfound

happiness that developed from this job,

relationships built at this job,

the healing that moved in with the start

of this new job, and learning

that Granny is on hospice care.

The grief monster has reared its many heads

and intermittently sunk its teeth into my feelings.

I allow myself to be in my feelings and

nourish the “painful monster” in hopes

that giving myself over to my monster

and my feelings will make space

for growth.

In time, the growing pains and the “bite”

of the grief monster will lessen in their

intensity leaving me with

stretch marks and scars.

A road map of where I have been

and prospects of where I will go.


(includes screenshot of Instagram post and citation)

A screenshot of an Instagram post. White background with black text of a prose poem by Nikita Gill entitled, “Grief is a Thing with Fangs.”

Gill, N. [@nikita_gill]. (2021, February 21). TW: talking about grief. With due credit to Emily Dickinson, this poem’s title and first line is inspired by “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers.” [Photograph]. Instagram.




Librarian and Information Specialist by day. Queer writer of poetry, sensuality, personal experience, and health by night. Instagram @tolbert_on_medium #BLM✊🏿