reconciling living and after-living

the corners of his mouth are whispering hymnals
he carried her body beyond its limits
heaved her form, not more than the weight of pencils
with such delicate care, as one might if shaping glass swans by focused flame
he’s imagining living alone in the home they nurtured like a precious child

just out of reach, a white sandal with silver clasps waits under the bed
he’ll grab a hanger from the empty side of the closet
to hook the lanky strap

worn but spotless, the sandal dangles from his shaking fingers
salt and sea blow so hard that his tears cascade into foaming waves
the sandal drops to the floor, he is wrecked
the strap has curved almost perfectly
he smiles at this, then draws in deep
the lemon and mint scent of her breath
almond-shaped fingernails round his shoulder
she wipes his tears
where the ocean curves like the strap of a sandal and water runs like the trickle of tears
she will be waiting
to lift him when he can no longer walk
pear fingersdrawing done to show one of my art student’s how fun fruit can be, summer 2013

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14 thoughts on “reconciling living and after-living

  1. AM, again your free verse is just so lovely and moving. That you focus on “personal effects” as a way of trying to understand/cope with loss is … well, another way we’re alike. In death, it seems that material “things” are sometimes all we have left to grapple with loss; those “things” take on a life of their own, representing the loved one and our relationship with her. I understand your words more than I can say here (in fact, I’m struggling to explain myself, sorry — and no wine!). And btw: absolutely love the art, which is so, SO cool — fascinating, actually! — and absolutely ties in with the verse. Bella arte, Miss. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Okay, I think the hob-gobblins ate up my first comment (if I’ve doubled up, please delete one of my comments, your choice:)). What I think I remember having said so eloquently (LOL) the first time was this: Your free verse here is, once again, lovely and moving, AM. And the fact that you focus on your aunt’s “personal effects” as a way of trying to understand her loss, and trying to comprehend how her husband will go on without her, is so perfectly rendered in the apt details you’ve chosen. In our everyday lives, we tend to think of material “things” as transient and unimportant; yet, when someone dies, it’s those material “things” we seek out and treasure, our touchstones with the person we loved. I really “get” your meaning here, I do, even though I’m struggling to explain it, and dare I say your verse is exactly how I would have tried to write and understand loss (although you do it so beautifully and with such ease and grace). And btw: 3xs love the artwork! It’s perfect for this post — and it’s just so cool and intriguing; bella arte, Miss!

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    • Hi Deb,
      I hope this didn’t make you too sad. This of course was written for Bucky, who I’m also hoping doesn’t read this too soon ’cause it will make him sad. Maybe later, it could possibly bring a small smile to his face.
      I must say your comment here, is better more beautiful than anything silly thing I’ve ever written. You take complex ideas and elevated words and roll them out into a rainbow.
      I thank you for you kind thoughts and dear words, my friend.
      am ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Geez-Louise! And I wasn’t even drinking wine last night! I don’t know what happened — and then my comment comes up as “Anonymous” (actually, I kind of like that, sort of mysterious). ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, hope your day goes well, Miss AM. Your post is sad, but sad is sad, and in this case, sad is beautiful too. I hope your Uncle Bucky stays strong — but you all are there for him, which is so great. Have a safe journey, my friend. P.S.: Nothing you write is ever “silly.”

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      • It was the ‘grapes of sass’ I don’t even know if that makes sense, but it was fun to write – Glenn Miller is making me sassy this am.
        No worries, my friend. All will be well and you know this better than many others.
        Thank you again – for being YOU!
        am ๐Ÿ™‚
        I think morning ‘sassiness’ is silly ๐Ÿ˜‰

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