Into a slot in the red clay,
your sister placed your red sunglasses,
the ones with sequins, your favorite dogs’ ashes,
the broken Tiffany ring box that you kept
for the color. You never had the ring.
The leaves had mostly fallen already
and only a few stooped friends
bore witness. I said a few things:
you were lively, funny, a writer, faithful,
brave in your long slide to this place.
I did not say, “She had a baby
when she was 15 and never saw him,
or her, she never knew which,”
or that your body never rallied
after the cratery bedsore excavated
your leg, or that, in the last weeks,
you no longer asked for Communion or prayer.
I do not know where you are now—
the you beyond the ashes and the felled body,
you delivered from the boredom of decay,
you (I fervently hope and pray
in this place of bare trees and brown leaves)
on streets of jasper, amethyst,
topaz, and sapphire, your red sunglasses
pushed back to hold your hair out of your eyes
as you stare into the sun and laugh.
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Lori Edey says
A powerful poem, Connie. I love the specifics. I love the “what’s said”, “what’s left unsaid”, I love the provocative challenge of presiding at such times, honouring the one who died as well as those who live on, knowing that the best rituals ride that line masterfully…. So glad I got to read it.
Jim Scott says
Powerful indeed, heartbreaking, and true.
Such a gift to all of us. Thank you Connie.