Posted tagged ‘what outlasts us poem’

The morning before a funeral for another–out for some air

May 17, 2014

The morning before a funeral for another–out for some air

From its handsomeness
and smallish size, I know
it must have been hers
and hesitate.
But it’s a raincoat
left in the hall closet
and it’s raining too hard
for no cover, so
I put on what’s not been worn
for ten years
and jog/walk out.

Buttoning the collar–it’s cold
in the rain–I catch the scent
of her lipstick–
a perfume of waxed
a favorite scent, but I inhale
as much as I can, so that my breath
is out of sync with the
slow fall of my feet
through the sluiced streets,
then the damp tow path.

Though, even as I’m conscious
of the particularity of her
in that scent,
I know that what I’m really trying to find
is life itself, life
after death–
some whisper from the ghost
of lipstick ten years gone
of the soul’s

As I turn
towards the river, a cardinal settles crimson
on the misted rail that separates the walk
from the muddy flow, less
than an arm’s breadth
Just on, come roses,
a profusion of pink-red,
and beyond, a perfect cadmium line hangs
like a sign
from a man’s neck–the leash
of the dogs he lets roam-

and I see now in the scent at my own neck,
her smile, a bright crescent whose shape
I try to compare to a sliver
of sideways moon, but that I realize,
as I jog on, is more truly like
the outline of a child’s palm cupped
to receive wonder–

suddenly there is a surfeit of water
everywhere–the path gleaming,
the river swollen, a fountain someone forgot
to turn off, and there–
and there–
a splash in the current
of something adept at surfacing
and diving again
that I never quite
catch sight of.

Here’s a draft poem, written just for myself, that I am also posting to With Real Toads Open Link Night.  I call it a draft.  I have a strong inclination to take out the entire third stanza.  It’s also been suggested to me that I should take out the leash!  Any thoughts from readers would be much appreciated.