Thinking a lot today about people I’ve lost. My mother-in-law, my dad. These are for them.
Absence (for Mama)
There is a shape to loss;
An outline in the air,
A gap in things where you used to fit.
A favorite sweater, soft white wool;
A piano with stilled keys;
Violets on the windowsill, watched over like grandchildren
Until there was no one to water them
And pinch off the leaves with curled brown edges.
You remain in fragments;
White blossoms rimmed in purple, a grandson’s smile,
A memory of music in the air.
We take out these memories sometimes,
Unfurl them like a scroll,
And read again the words we cherished there;
Because nothing can erase the story of you.
Dad’s Last Things
A French grammar by your empty bed,
Near it a spiral notebook half-filled.
That poem you found about the crow–Robert Frost–
You wanted to share it with the nurses
But never got the chance.
The grammar, the notebook–they come home with us;
They are all we have left.
The crow shakes snow from its feathers,