( For My Margaret)
A cold January wind
blows across the quiet place
where her earthly body eternally sleeps.
Oblivious to the biting cold,
I brush away the snow
from the bronze and granite marker
bearing her name.
I tell her I love her,
and ‘tho they won’t last in the cold,
I bring her a bouquet of yellow roses
to express my abiding love.
‘Tho she now rests in the arms of God,
I am warmed by the memory
of our life together,
and find comfort—
I will see her again someday.
Charles E. Clevenger
New Boston, Ohio
I have joined you from time to time
for a turn through these woods, now dim
now splashed with sun.
You have gone this distance
as anyone should,
the gloom some days turning you shadowed.
Other times you peer to a leafy sky
clearing to blue
to honor a stubborn sun.
I see you keeping what needs keeping –
times of blue and light –
and letting go that leaden air
too dense for mortal breath.
I see you breathing a few salt tears
to lave your arid heart
and help you own these dappled days.
After Thirteen Weeks
Sister tries to help with her bright attitude,
her practical requests—a purple scarf,
Her new hairdo is short,
severe, but she looks soft and young,
her cowlick a defiant flag.
I want to come home. This cancer is mine
It’s gone beyond a pink ribbon,
coins dropped in a cup.
the burn in her veins, the edge
that severed her right breast. I hear
that jagged scar that crawls armpit
I want to stroke
the stretch marks missed by the knife,
tell them like beads to count my tears.
From “My Will and Testament is on the Desk”