September 18th, 2019

Whale fluke

For Dana, and for those who miss Dana.

It's ready to be posted.

A poem for Dana

You are
To look

* * * * *

Foot-fall, foot-fall, foot-fall,
Trod, trod, trod,
Move, move, move:
We move because we have to.
The whole functioning-in-society thing.
Some of us, of you,
In Portland and Kansas City and elsewhere,
Have been the walking wounded,
Flattened by the loss.
For hundreds or thousands of us,
We try to see how we are now.
What's different? What layers are in the difference?
What about a Dana-less world will hit you out of the blue?
How will it find new ways to hurt?

* * * * *

There can be, as you grieve,
A seeming extra weight to the very sky,
A weight forced on you.
Life seems heavier.
You can feel squeezed,
And not by one of Dana's hugs.
Maybe you think of that sky
Then of her and the so many others
Who no longer get to see it.
Yes: unfair.
We're reminded and reminded and reminded.
It's the price of thinking.
That sky, unthinking, doesn't know, doesn't feel:
It just is,
A part of the Still-Is.
As we are.

* * * * *

And you are
To look

* * * * *

Your hurt heart needs time, yes; but it still gets air,
As life prefers to keep living.
Breath, needed, happens:
An in-and-out, an in-and-out, another.
And as you do, you remember:
-----Dana's voice.
-----Her songs.
-----Her talents.
-----Her point-of-view.
-----Her finely-tuned bullshit detector.
-----Her support of her friends,
-----Of her colleagues.
Maybe you recall in bits and pieces,
A slice of a slice of a life
Until you're stronger and can remember
A slice of a life.
(We never can grasp the whole of a life.)
This, as you heal, gets easier,
Though never easy.

* * * * *

You are
To look

* * * * *

We function within the unfairness;
We can't halt.
We can't irrevocably stop:
We pause, we re-gather, we focus
And we move.
We can rebuild our strength,
Rebuild around the wound,
Learn to live with it.
Re-learn, in a way, how to live.
How to move.
How to have it hurt less to remember.

Dana's remembered.
This won't feel like enough.
She didn't get the amount of life she deserved.
She didn't get enough —
(What is "enough life"?)
— And we can be mad on her behalf.
We can/will miss her.
But, still, even still,
We can keep our memories remembering,
Finding and holding the joy and love
Dana's memory can bring.
Love can lighten the world.
And with love lifting the weight,
You (and you) (and you) (and you)
Are allowed
To look

(By Christopher Walsh. Begun July 27, 2019, on the way to Dana Thompson's memorial at Woodlawn Park, Portland. Finished August 30, 2019. Finalized and posted September 18, 2019.)

© Christopher Walsh, 2019.