Friday, February 5, 2021

Poem (in memoriam Sean, d. 1981)


I have to imagine your grave today
since there's no visiting —
& there is fire, as well as distance
& decades between.

It might be dulled or overgrown,
inscription chipped off or greying —
every sibling's name & He is Risen
no longer legible, meaningful, like those

you & I would try to decipher as children
walking around churchyards, certain
such mute & sunken slabs had nothing
to do with us, just sweetly sad,

fearsome if stepped on. Your vases dry,
there won't be flowers now, though early
on I'd arrive to find someone else had
tended you, & spend the day wondering:

places you marked in other lives.
On the long road for years there was
a van that sold bouquets, opportune
as mushroom after death-rain,

servicing that end of things. Gone, gone.
After these forty years I scarcely know
what to say to you — my living on
has said everything for me.

                                  Tracy Ryan