Monday, January 15, 2007


Photographer unknown
Today is the seventh anniversary of my mother's death. I still miss her. She was a beautiful, strong woman. Dancing was her life. In her mid-eighties she would still get out on the dance floor, with anyone who would whirl her about. I once made the mistake of suggesting, ever so lightly, that she might want to slow down just a bit. She looked at me with love, and said: you don't understand. What better way to die, than while dancing? I couldn't argue with that. IF there truly is a place we go after death, I hope she is this age, wearing this dress and dancing her heart out.
for Maggie, 1913-2000
Driving home--past the Great Miami river
where mighty Tecumseh once roamed.
Flowing out of its banks this rainy winter,
the water moves silently through stark trees.
A puzzled crow calls, a hawk,
its white breast ruffled in the cold,
surveys the river--no longer contained,
free at last.
I come to the Pasco road, turn north
toward the hill where you are buried.
As I climb, the earth is spongy beneath me.
The radio said snow is approaching.
It was seven years ago, in ice
and a wind more cruel than this
that you were laid to rest,
your small green urn so alone
on the frozen earth.
There are roses carved on your stone.
A plastic flower from someone's grave
skitters about in the wind.
In summer this is a singing place
with birds and sun and starlight on maples.
Today it lies uneasy in this winter
that holds off, wrapping snowy blankets
about itself, refusing to share.
There are miles to go yet to the place
where I was born, to friends' houses,
to laughter, wine and food,
so I whisper goodbyes, love,
apologies for leaving too soon,
place the plastic rose on your stone
and pray that from this grave
you are risen--the urn shattered,
no longer able to contain you.


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