My dead (recast, for Jeffrey)

My poem, My Dead, needs another stanza. So, baby brother, you are now a new, very sharp stone in my pocket too. Thanks for walking with me.

I call them my dead,
not that they don’t still
belong to themselves
or to the universe now,
but they are mine
because when they lived
we walked together

& now I carry memories
from each of them
like small stones in my pocket
worn smooth by my fingers:

This stone is my father,
who died when I was on the cusp
of knowing him better.
Our eyes are identical;
neither brown nor green,
but happy shifting between the 2 colors.

This is my grandmother,
who taught  me herb-lore
& when to plant things
& how to write
an S.

This stone is hard
& still sharp on the edges,
and is my sister
who died too young:
we should still be arguing
& raising children together.

This stone,
deepest in my pocket
& warmed by body heat
represents my mother,
who we lost long before
her heart stopped beating,
& who I remember most
because at the end
I was her memory.

This stone,
newly cut
hard & bright as fresh loss
is my brother’s.
I have no words for him yet
beyond deep mourning–
murmuring his name under my breath
like a mantra
that brings no peace.

These are my dead
& I remember them
with joy, with tears;
with peace,
& with some anger.

If I could,
I would gather their bones
in 1 place
& pour wine
over the earth
that holds them;

not in worship
or fear, simply
in a gesture
of thanks-giving.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My dead (recast, for Jeffrey)

  1. Ow. profound words, Susan. My sincere sympathies on your loss. May your brother rest in perfect peace. And may the earth lie gently on all the faithful departed.

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