Did I sound critical and dark about her need for adventure?
No, no, no, no!
It’s just the grief talking.
How could I have lost another friend?
My poems are full of it, you know,
seems like I’m supposed to get it,
this thing called death
and a monster disease,
a thief stealing a woman
who was always
They say it is “ just a transition” a shedding of the physical body.
Another piece about death?
That’s what it is-evidence-
raw and real…
Not crossing over, not the transition, not passed away,
such are the phrases of pablum, more bland than unsweetened oatmeal…
The last time I saw her,
I could tell something was up.
She was meeting with her son at the local taco stand;
her sparkling eyes seemed so serious.
She didn’t stop to talk or chat, even her red hair
was different that night,
and you could always tell it was she…
a block away,
her coppery hair lit up like her splendid soul.
I can’t seem to get the timeline right but I do know
I was back in Ohio at my father’s bedside, right there…silently screaming
at the ides of March.
He never liked March.
He passed on during that third day of the dreaded month, and when I came home
to California, the redwoods and giant oaks seemed foreboding.
I found she was going too.
How could it be?
Would there be no more adventures to exotic places?
No more post cards and slide shows,
her altruistic voice, far-seeing tiny eyes filled with tales of people.
I always thought she was a reincarnated Chinese sage,
with those hennaed locks
flowing with the energy of an athlete.
She said “you were the first people I met when I moved to town.”
She told that to everybody because we made her feel at home.
We felt like family, because our hearts united for simple honoring
That was before I’d had enough and had to leave my kid’s dad
for all the fighting and verbal demise.
It was I who had bitten the dust. She understood.
It was easy to make anyone feel at home because she was so friendly and vivacious,
making people feel welcomed was simple for that’s the way we were raised.
Only later I found out there was a name for it….codependency…she could see that there was a jagged edge
in my marriage, that the hurled barbs of word attacks hit me when company departed
and my hurt was starting to show.
Everywhere she went, she rallied for others…for the earth, nutrition, and good causes,
attending to the forgotten, women, children, and others.
She was outspoken about formal religion,
It made her feel like an animal in a cage.
“Don’t give me that Jesus stuff” was the underpinning of the message,
and here’s why:
She lived the real word of the gospel
by doing right,
but that girl just would not sit tight.
When she went to Nepal
we lent her Johnny’s leather suitcase, perfect for her voyage.
It had pockets on both sides, with an inside zipper and storage places.
She never forgot to bring us little trinkets, shiny red and glittering
tokens of those places she acquired on her voyage list…
but it was so far away this time, we made sure her itinerary was printed clearly.
We knew she’d be back with tales of adventure, talking of
of fabulous foods served on floors, and statues of Buddha mixed with
mountains of foreign language
and new friends.