Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17: Love and Loss, Her Hand, "Letting Go"

You're going to have to forgive me if I don't name a new Poet of the Week until tomorrow.  In honor of my sister's birthday, I've decided to publish one of my poems that she loved.

It's an appropriate poem for today, as well.  It's about love and loss.

I stopped by the cemetery on the way home to sing "Happy Birthday" to her.  It was beautiful there, bright, warm, and green.  As I was leaving, I swear I felt her hand on my shoulder.  It may have been the wind.  I'm not sure.

Saint Marty misses his sister.

Letting Go

by:  Martin Achatz

My daughter left this afternoon,
Will be gone until tomorrow morning.
I packed her backpack for the trip.
Breadsticks and cheese, for protein, health.
Banana, apples, so I look responsible
To chaperons, teachers.  Vanilla goldfish
Crackers for dessert, to remind her
She's still a child, not to be concerned
With weight, body, hair, boys.
I gave her one hundred dollars,
Lectured her about responsibility,
Budget for food, souvenirs, told her
Not to take money from her pocket
Until she had to pay for something,
In case strangers were near, strangers
Who take little girls from parents,
From school field trips to theaters,
From ten-year-old lives.  They take
Little girls, I told her, make them
Disappear like Harry Houdini, send
Them to places of precious, lost things:
Her charm bracelet, mommy's pearl earring,
Grandma Cheryl with her big laugh.
I gave my daughter a pillow for sleeping,
There and back, with flannel pillowcase
That matches her bed sheets, a gift
From her godmother for her third birthday.
I packed a thermos of water and ice,
Because I know how she craves water
The way a lilac does in May
To grow green, bud, blossom into summer.
I did all these things for her, then
I let her go.  I sit here now in silence,
Think of her far away, out of reach.
I think of Mary as she watched her son
Ascend into the sky, wonder if she
Packed Him a snack, honey, dark bread,
For His long journey away from her.

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