Letting Go, memory, Poetry, prayer



An angel, a puppy, a music note.
She was not wearing these when she left.
Neither the black and copper choker,
the latticework of wire,
the abalone cuff.
She had not strapped on even one of the five Wonder Woman watches
to keep track of the time
it would take.
If she had clasped the anklet with its tiny bells falling against her foot,
we may have heard her go.
She didn’t want anyone to stop her,
we tell ourselves.
She waited until the house was quiet
after all.

Tangled around hair rollers.
Snaking through extension cords.
Chains of silver, strings of stone.

Her daughter says, It’s all going. Take anything.
We sort through the olla podrida of the dim rooms
she spent her last months:
boxes of batteries and baking pans, knitting needles, eyebrow pencils,
insulin and hammers.
Dizzy, we plow as if through the debris of a blown out department store.
Auto care mixed with housewares, athletics among the cosmetics, furniture in the pharmacy.

And here, and here: Intimate apparel at the jewelry counter.

How much like sifting through a dead woman’s lingerie
this feels, her tangled treasures.
So close. A phantom shimmer, a breath upon my fingers,
this chandelier of tiny beads that swayed from one ear.
This crystal teardrop that lay at her throat.

An angel, a puppy, a music note.
Fine links once warmed to her pulse
charms struck against her wrist
the unscored song
of her lifting hand.

She chose each of these jewels or
someone chose each for her,
tuning her stride,
her body of chimes.

Sometimes clouds gather and part.
Sometimes like a sepsis
darkness festers. It swells.
Grit and howl, its squall
downing the lines,
killing the light.

We don’t know what she wore
that night. Only what she didn’t.

This angel, this puppy, this music note.

Take anything?
Too close, I say. I can’t. Even though I return to the jewelry
three times, I can’t.
And so with batteries and baking pans,
insulin and hammers
goes every glass bead, every last charm
into the bed of what we won’t call a dump truck
waiting outside in the rain.

Too close, I say. I couldn’t.
Which is half lie because truth hasn’t yet filled the space
she left behind.
Because the light in my rooms
is just as dim.
Because she became my prism
instead of herself,
as the blotted out sky
becomes me.
Somehow, the two of us, our spry, gleaming hearts
wrapped in satin and sleeved in bangles
slipped off to a pageant
of bonfire under a fat moon
leaving only these shadows here,
these fists of string.

Too close, the half lie.
I took no jewels because it’s so easy to forget
we once shined
and could again.

Her shadow absconded
smothering what was left of the stars.
Through the wound that swallowed her
I pray for her emergence
in a diamond-iced meadow,
she taking the shape
of each charm’s source:
feathered wing, foxtail flash, and dawn’s symphony.

She in a crown of spider silk.
Her body a song
of dew
and light.


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