We arrive sleepy and bent - a crumpled wad of desire for something new. These wet hot streets - a vistors reckoning - grief. But that is what you carried here my dear - packed neatly in your bags - folded, creased, alert. I tried to find the thing that made London her own. But, belonging to everyone and spread so densely through street upon alley upon court with flesh, she's a union of nations at once - scurrying about in search. The homeless prefer, it seems, to sleep in broad daylight beside a riot of words. There are no shoes, a tired beard, an altar of water bottles left at his feet. I thought about quitting marriage when I couldn't summon joy - as if London should ring that old bell back into awakening. But it was dinner time again - and every other door an open mouth for feeding. So we dine so we sleep so we rise once more and when you say good-bye i love you at last.
what would you do, heart without a cell phone ringing or me texting and snapping and retrieving one hundred and fifty times a day? what would you say, heart without me having to answer every forty emails, deleting forty more and bothering so much with Siri? what would happen to you, heart - in all your soft glory - if you could just beat and love and beat some more? intuiting the vastness of stars before night even falls. catching his breath before she walks into the room. embracing my child before he walks away. i remember when. there was a feeling. so much to feel really. so much more.
people are dying - and also there is cancer like a maniac bully breaking our hearts. i wanted to feel something - one time for itself - without another something to hold it up against or toward. but what's so is the tragic beauty of everything we love - dissolving in front of us as we become.
for your birthday we poured martinis - threw fresh dough on a pizza stone and marveled at the magic of heat and cheese. just a few of us, this several pieces of one family you had made for yourself. good lord we all miss you.
in the evenings, when even the bones are tired and every bit of energy that could be conjured has been - there is still a young rapper in his room - discovering the magic of words - and another boy, taking a vacation from the wonders of the cosmos and finance to play a video game with a friend. the noises are absolute. my dog curls up like a pinto bean - his big ears on alert. something inside me hungers. so much of a day spent doing remains undone until the heart has had her chance to rumble. the fingers their chance to skip across the black pavers - at last awake.
your dying is a lazy mountain waterfall without an end. i am looking under rocks - in between the manzanita and madrone - under moss and lichen - hands deep in a hollowed oak trying to find the empty. but there is still too much. an overwhelming overflowing of your aliveness - a certain surely still at home i am here about it. a lie. or not. you left me a ruby rimmed with diamonds - a crimson and aqua rug - some china and a desk. ee cummins,david sedaris,the best loved poems of jacki o. a life of scripture, "everything that is yes" love. we pretended to bury you yesterday. but you were there at lunch running the show. and now i am thinking about what is lovely and there you are again and me and we.
we have always liked to organize things differently. you file beautiful next to exquisite and lush and tradition - your systems become tasteful displays of abundance - while i like to purge and name the spaciousness something pretty. you bring the color while i remove the things that filter it. you have big soft hands and a warm heart and room to hold every little thing that is sacred close. my hands are dry from all the scrubbing and i try my best not to hold on to things. still, i will leave your home every time with my arms full of certain special gifts i could not have lived without. a poem clipped from an old magazine - an ancient alligator suitcase - the rusted locks and tired lining proof that you can stop time. and i would. stop time. i wonder how many times i have taken the fake poinsettias down - tripping over my own feet and the heavy curtains that line the closet - the ladder leaning against the wall like an old friend i have used twice a year forever. the string of christmas lights in a round hat box that i will not test this year breaks me. but i do not cry. only some of them would have lighted. and i would have wrestled them around the tree like i do every year, finding out a little too late that one string needs to be replaced, again. you would point out the holes where the light is not enough. where it is dark. we will fill the tree with color again - every year with your box of color - we will fill the tree to overflowing - all the sparkling glass balls and crystal boxes, the shiny bundles of red berries and intricate ornamentation - the precious hold-it-in-your-hand beauty - the loveliness of things made meaningful by your keeping. this time you say go ahead and give the poinsettias away and we act like it is no big deal. someday when we have grown weary of the attic i will ask you for the ladder. this is how she taught me i will say to make beauty worth giving away and memories worth keeping. i will have tiny clippings of poems and articles cut - things you saved and stored and finally delivered as if it were no trouble at all that you cared enough to save it. this year we'll get the tree early and maybe spill red wine on the sofa or not use coasters. we will have known better and that will be what counts. that because of you we will have known better.