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In Remembrance

There was a recent discussion on Facebook about the challenges the elderly face, in particular loneliness. In this holiday season, it's especially important to pause and seek an opportunity to touch someone's life in a way that tells them they matter.

I wrote the following poem in 2012. It has undergone countless revisions to reach its present form. I finally decided to stop tinkering with it and let it be as it is. For those who know the person it is written about, I know you will understand and remember the day. For those of you who don't, I wager there is someone you know of whom it could have been written.

Thanksgiving blessings to you all, and a joyous Christmas season.


A furious north gale sweeps

through the naked woods,

a madman pummeling our house,

its brutal fists driving the

snow into drifts, claiming what was

green and seventy yesterday.

I toil in the storm, things

I should have done then,

my cheeks slapped

by the unforgiving wind.

I think of yesterday’s

festive table, and the one

who ate sorrow,

sometimes catching my eye,

trying on smiles that did not fit,

surrounded yet alone, aching

with love that did not end

in the closing earth, life at

ninety-six beside an empty chair.

Surely she thought of Thanksgivings

when her table groaned, when her

apron was love spattered, stirring

gravy while he carved the bird.

She stared through the glass,

looking at a sky as blue as a spring jay,

the great-grands at play, their feet

soaring high enough to touch his face,

laughter beneath a late

autumn sun, one to achingly desire

when roses no longer bloom.

My chores are done, but I turn

at the door and labor again

through the deepening snow

to the silent garden where

only memories grow,

gathering sage in fragrant

bouquets of the enduring

sweet remains,

brave, sage.

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