An Absent Departure

   for my grandmother

I came to see you last evening
but you weren’t there.
The sun pouring through the window
spilled my shadow across the tile.
A white room

locked and empty.
I had wasted your last day
at a beach kitesurfers played
like cherubim glittering in a birdbath
the wind in their harp strings. All day
you must have rocked in pain’s cradle
looking out this window
waiting for a visitor

your feet hardly touching the floor.
Finally one came and took you
in a blue convertible
picking up your husband on the way
and drove among the pastures
green as spring

to a banquet hall where
faces stood and cheered
charged with love
you thought had been forgotten.
In our sorrow you triumphed
coasting past our shining smiles
through a plain back door
hinged like a hymnal.

I cannot follow you
to where we’ll meet again
only think of us as porcelain angels
immortally fragile
we protect in dark cabinets
until our hearts are steered
into letting them live.
They alight and circle
the old roost
until it diminishes
and make their own.

I thought your light I followed guided
when it was actually a destination –
a tonic chord poured through clouds
to lift me from the deepest furrows.
From the warmth of a dying giant’s
cradling hand

the life inside a dove’s egg stirs
the galaxies. You have moved between eternities
and I could never be more proud.

Featured art: “The Traveler” from the Birds of Light series by Gretchen K. Deahl.

Image used with permission from the artist.