Up there in the trees,

in that great canopy of Oaks shading everything,

flits a torn balloon,

some remembrance offering that didn’t make it to heaven.

That doesn’t happen over in the Jewish section,

where they lay small stones to mark

love and devotion and occasion,

instead of the floral kaleidescope of the gentiles.

The cleanness of that grief strikes me.

This many years and tears past,

I don’t grieve her in the garden her so much.

That happens at small, unexpected, breathy intersections

where the mundane collides with eternal.

You know…when folding laundry sorted

by child and pile and noticing the gap.

Or when driving and counting heads and

that feeling that never goes away that one is missing.

But the garden is just a place where it’s okay to cry.

About anything.

No looks. Just quiet respect and sometimes palpable despair

will cluster around the granite.

We never speak but we are bound

in the strangest of ways.

So I sat on the Thackerson Bench,

the groundmate’s family who paid more than I,

providing a slab to sit upon so

we’d both have a place to cry,

near the base of the tree,

near the names carved in bronze.

My water had started that morning,

not shutting off, not building.

Just a steady Stream Of Me leaving

through swollen eyes that can not see the way ahead.

I’d refused to get up until

He gave me some kind of word.

I wouldn’t say his name for the longest time;

I tried his mother first.

Then, my saint, who has become

a new mother of sorts to me as well.

But then his name came out for

the first time in at least a year.

The dam had broken I guess.

A desperation possessing no more strength.

The pool beneath was smooth,

calm even.

Breathe.

In the stillness my eyes,

those red and aching windows,

glimpsed the ants.

They’ve always crawled near her grave,

persistently keeping ivy from growing.

I’ve hated them.

But that day there they were,

hauling the dead moth between the blades

of grass and dead leaves from the oaks above me,

frantically.

And I could see that no ant wastes time feeling

guilt or gloom that they need help.

The job lays before and they unite,

driven, intent, red.

Those ants kept getting the moth caught

in a circle of grass. One, two, three tries.

More circles. Maybe some talk. They chewed.

Each broke a section away and

onward they moved. The large

having been made small enough for

one to carry. And the moth

was gone.

I dried my face.

Took a breath.

I can’t be a hero.

But I can be an ant.

Onward.

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