elegy: a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead
Remember how she smoked too many cigarettes,
flicking them one after another into the cold street?
Standing there for hours under the streetlights,
breath and smoke locked together like the blue and silver
holiday wreath she found at the Thrift-a-Lot and carried through
two husbands, one apartment, and a house.
She once got top marks in typing but then failed out
of business school because she took up with
a beautifully broken man who kept her up too late and drove
her to class each morning, swerving through patches of black ice,
motorcycle tires spitting snow onto her stolen white jacket.
I've always wondered why she never had warmer jackets.
I've always wondered why she stayed so long.
She couldn't leave because Wednesday was ladies night.
She knew all the jukebox numbers by heart
and made a habit of going home with the wrong man.
Remember how she never cried
but could take a punch and give it right back,
how she spoke in circles and shouted
until the sun came up?
She once said her life was an afterschool special
with tired country music blaring in the background and she
Remember how we put her to rest
in that record breaking blizzard?
How nothing seemed real anymore
and the snow was soft feathers against the windshield?
The road led west and it turned out
that she could have rescued herself all along.
May she rest in peace.
What if the earth were poetry
and all the curses were lies?
If rejoicing in sweetness
was learned from the start,
would we have more of an
inclination for heaping grace
upon others and ourselves
like wildflowers fresh from bloom?
Let’s build something
together, you and I.
Carefully water the seeds,
patiently wait for the roots
to grow deep, and hold me tight
on those days when I am my worst self.
Speak of grace when I have forgotten.
I will do the same.
Is there anyone who could remain
Or would everyone react as I do -
dropping their parcels and purses
to sink deeply into this generous offering,
arms and legs swimming
as if the sea were only one stroke away?
I will not walk through this day.
I will float through a field of sunflowers
soaking up the silence. I will move as if
I am a welcomed and grateful guest.
I will silver the earth with softness.