How do you hold on to a blessing?
Tiny fingers and tiny toes
Wrapped in a blue cotton blanket.
The evening laughter in the hall
And the silence after
Made of living, breathing bodies,
Under a single roof and a sky
Brushed with falling stars.
And once when you were six
And sat upon your daddy's knee
And he, gazing at your mother, smiled.
A moment caught
Like a weathered painting
Upon a broken wall.
The bricks like ragged remnants
Of Rome before the fall.
Because all greatness crumbles
Because all young men stumble
Into useless, wrinkled bodies,
Raging like blind ponies
Against a locked and
So, how do you hold on to a blessing?
And how do you even love at all?
You see, I used to count them
Like notches on an immortal tree.
Naïve, stacking each one like
Little petals from paper roses
Or brightly colored falling leaves.
Holding them tightly against my chest
Afraid that they would scatter,
As if by clutching them there I could prevent
The winter that comes after.
But I am left
Trembling in a deep and unforgiving snow
The flowers dead, the petals buried
Clutching only your picture
And that wretched question:
“Why did you go?”
For anyone who has suffered loss. I know this is pessimistic, but looking around at my beautiful little children, my family, I cringe when people say "you are so blessed," because, yes, I AM, but with that comes the knowledge that all of this is so fragile, so temporary, so illusory, and I don't want to let it go! How selfish I can be. I want to hold them all here because they complete me. Life is a series of losses, or so it seems lately. We have our memories, at least.