Friday, February 12, 2016

The pilot

I didn't see it then

but see it now

how hard for you it must have been

my navigation through the years

took us further

than you planned

but sweet you were

to go along

you didn't fail to try

 to give me peace

though I had none,

my nature interfering

and yours holding fast,

at least I never saw you

grieve the way I do.

I didn't see it then

but see it now.


The hour is late, nearly lost
like all the others--
here now then gone
with the good old wind.
Alone, me, with leaves piled up
like corn flakes against my door,
I worry his ashes will blow away.
Because nothing is safe from wind.
I recall our boat ride to the whales,
how the ocean rocked beneath us,
how the wind threw waves at us,
how it tried try to pull us down
before our time.


The leaf has lost her self.
Time has flung her against a tree.
Look how she lays against the trunk--
vanishing into bark, nearly bark
herself, barely there,
only a sketch of tender youth
yet lovely, in a new and scary way,
like a torn-off goose wing;
its natural to pity this--
life wants to go on and on and on
so nothing's sadder even for a leaf
than this terrible want
in a world where nothing lasts,
where all I can do is look back
over my shoulder and weep
at this knowing, like the leaf,
I am earth not heaven bound.


Time is not a slow decay
the days all rush away--and worse
I can't recall the days at all.
Fun days, hard days, sad days---
all fall with equal speed
into the past.
Almost nothing lasts--it's always
the present always cloying.
It's so annoying.


Four months later, his death still dims the light
in every room.
Still chills, still silences.
His robe still feels heavy on me--
yes I wear it still but I've let go
of parts of him. I've plunged into
that work like a mop into a bucket,
unpleasant work that must be done.
Still I feel a sting when I see his coat hanging
next to mine. Mints in the pockets, still fresh.
I feel too full and too empty,
like a hostage deprived of tenderness
who sweeps the floor to keep on going.
Still I tip toe past his ashes
as if he needed rest.