Manahil Gill

chagrin : sept

not sorrow not woe not heartache 
my trusty thesaurus is not so trusty after all
when it comes to finding un synonyme for this one 

not agony not distress not suffering 
not one not two but sept, seven 

prime, indéfenissable, indefinable
no factors except for one and itself 

semble familier? 
sound familiar?

le chagrin n’est pas 
grief is not 
n’est pas 
it is not 
tu ne peux pas 
you cannot 
encompass it with just any word
say that it hurts, that it’s painful
because yes—
because yes that is true is hurts it hurts it hurts—

but as i was saying 
grief is one and itself, just like sept, 7  
would you like me to explain? 

you know, when a thread latches onto a corner of ton cœur
your heart
tugs and bites and keeps that corner for itself 
really, you lose a part of yourself 
but the more you lose, the more you hurt, 
but you can’t feel it at first, because there’s our friend,
notre tout premier ami, our very first friend:

shock, un. 
she’s all adrenaline and questions and im sorry but please just tell me what’s going on.
you know. there’s hardly anything to feel. there’s hardly any hurt. and it’s all good
that is until our second bestest friend waltzes in, 

denial, deux. 
she’s all wrinkly forehead frowns and answers to questions you don’t wanna hear and you can’t be serious. 
she’s all would it be so bad if we just ignored it all?
because there’s somebody out there
who said that l’ignorance est le bonheur 
ignorance is bliss
and that housing our tears in mason jars was a good idea. 
merci for that, by the way 
l'ignorance does do wonders when it comes to becoming a star-class actress.
yes, im okay. im okay im alright no i don’t need your help. 

and then there are les jumeaux, the twins
guilt and bargaining, trois et quatre 
they’re identical twins, so naturally they are cunning
enough so to lodge all those hypotheticals into your head 
enough so to convince you that yes it was your fault, yes you could have done this or that or
no, you couldn’t have done this or that or—
ça va. n’est pas de ta faute. 
you’re fine. it isn’t your fault.

5 and 6, cinq et six, are anger and depression, 
arguably worse than the identical twins, except who am i kidding 
they’re all bad. c’est le chagrin, un et lui-meme. it’s grief, one and itself
anger is bad because those what-if questions turn into how-do-i-fix-this questions 
you think you got it but then you realize that there is no fixing it and what then?
lash out and cry and take that mason jar of tears
let them into l’air, let six/depression sneak into l’air too
breathe it in and then realize
it’s much too hard to do too much of anything 
including figuring out where in the world your sanity snuck off to 
only six étapes/six stages in, and tu es déjà devenu fou 
you’ve already gone mad 

that is, until sept arrives fashionably late 
though coming late is better than never at all because boy-oh-boy
for once, it isn’t all saltwater on your face and creased brows and hypotheticals 
it’s hope and it’s hope that feels good 
it’s called acceptance and—
no it’s not completely okay, it’ll never be completely okay
but it’s okay-er and that’s a step forward 
because this time, you can ask yourself quoi maintenant, what now,
and actually have an answer besides i just wanna go home and stare at my ceiling till my eyes go dry 
this time, you can say i know what happened and i know it sucks and i I know i stomped my feet and cried and cried but hey, 
i may not be better yet but im on my way
sept étapes du chagrin/seven stages of grief are a lot
a lot coming from a prime number 
but it’s not too much because i have iron bones and golden tears 
and so do you
and so do you
and we’re on our way. 

About the Author: Manahil Gill is a current junior at Ursuline Academy from Dallas, Texas, but her passion for writing originated back in her hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio. Although she plans on studying STEM in college, she has published various poems and novels, and loves discovering new cultures all around the world.