Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poem for a Passed Friend

An old friend of mine passed away suddenly a few months ago, shocking friends, family and coworkers with her too-early departure. She was a light. Everyone says that, and maybe it’s always true. All I know is that it was true for sure in her case.

Here is a poem I wrote a week or so later when the disbelief had morphed into a constant haunting of thoughts, always there underneath and on the periphery. It just happened to be on Valentine’s Day. I can share it now that a little time has passed.

Hollow Valentine

On a walk,
On a half-shrouded February night,
I saw mostly bones and skulls in the half-light

It's been a time for death

What does it mean to live a life
And then not be here

I hear the coyotes whoop,
And one by one, the calls of dogs
Drift to me from hidden spaces
Across the snow

I see the winking light above tracking
Mechanically slowly
Across the patchy pale dark
And the muted starfield beyond

When I was last on the long night flight
Looking endlessly down into the light-sprinkled blackness,
I imagined people in their cozy homes
Or driving around on highways and roads

But I never imagined a stranger unseen
Miniscule in the far below on tiny feet,
With his thoughts searching out and alone
To the distant empty reaches

- Steve Dahlberg 02-14-2012

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