Pete's Poetry

She seemed so serious
as if it took concentration. 

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IN LOVING MEMORY OF

Posted by in Love's Loss, Poems

“I am home in heaven, dear ones;
Oh, so happy and so bright!”

Born: February 9, 1924

Dear Mother,
You never asked me for advice
to show me how human
or frail you are.

Your life and experiences
so freely shared with others
are absent from my world.

And what about your childhood?
It could not be so unremarkable
to grow up with such
a large family.

I suppose I waited to long
before I started to ask
those questions of Rosemary…

At Rest: May 21, 1995

Was I lucky
to have not spent those last
few hours with her?
Or was it unlucky after all?
At least it was easier that
I was not the one
trying to hold on,
to capture the essence
of her
before she slipped beneath
the glaze.
I’m sure I will experience that
too much
in my lifetime.

A Long Drive To The Wake

Death is less real
in the daytime…
The funeral home intentionally
dark and drab, like death,
to retreat from light
and retire the mind.
I always dream that death
will wait patiently till night
and penetrate with stealth
the mind and body
and soul
from nearby shadows.

As a child I played
with my shadow, a shepherd
a friend,
never overshadowing.
The dance of our
chase affable and enticing.
Then someone told me by day
that my once sociable shadow
was dark and lifeless.
That night, the dismal symbolism appeared
and became thick
like the darkest syrup.

“When through one woman
a little more love
and goodness,
a little more light
and truth
come into the world-
then that woman’s life
has had meaning.”

Kolssak Funeral Home

That day I spent with her
in Chicago
taught me that memory
is of little consequence
when it is locked
in an open casket.

She seemed so serious
as if
it took concentration.

I have searched
for her reason,
her cause, but found
only consequence.

What did I learn from her
death?
Nothing… Death
is not a lesson but a reality
of which the only gift is grief,
but even this I missed
because she was not so close
in my memory
and her stories lost
to the cold transference.

Interment

Death
becomes an absurd story,
the reality of the living,
and life their illusion.

I was a pallbearer
at my grandmother’s funeral
and her casket was heavy
with stillness.
She did not turn
or shift
as we descended the steps.
My eyes laden
with memory.

Aftermath

Rosemary
was, in a moment,
unburdened with memory
With so many memories
in the world,
her passage,
cleared the way
for some of my own.

What she left behind were
the common things;
the basic accouterments of
a person who’s lived their share:
some furniture,
scattered pictures of little
significance without
much explanation, and then
still insignificant;
and letters that told more about
the writer than the receiver.

I had gone to Rosemary’s memorial
expecting a revelation…
having never witnessed death in person,
but there was no awakening
waiting, no new awareness.
She could teach me nothing
of death or even
of life.
It seems a cruel joke to take a person
and leave but a shell.
Is it really you?
Her lips silent, too stubborn to answer.

Eventually, I passed by
to walk again among the shadowy
disfigurements of the room.

Remarks, observations, commentary or criticism:

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