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Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 3, 2017)

This is the elegy for the one I didn’t know.
This is the elegy for my lack of knowing.

All the others said things
and you said things to all the others
who have each said things I remember.

But to me you could not speak.
You could not move your mouth or tongue.
You were like Frankenstein that way,
full-hearted shuffling, full-throated lumber
to the bathroom, to the dinner table.

And sitting with you alone
I was always afraid of what you’d say—
those words that were not words,
could not be words, the wordless long vowel.

You were a powerful existence even then.
Because you were big—you smiled big,
you walked big, you slid heavily
into the hearts of your heirs.
You said things they still smile over.
They tell me these things.

They tell me a pack of horses ran with you
along the fences, along the stark plains,
running along the headlights and the hearse,
running over the packed caliche dirt
toward the graveyard out on the mesa
where the meadowlarks sing like a wild tribute.
Because you were a beacon to the larks
and the horses always loved you.
This is what they said.

You could not speak anymore.
And you and I cannot speak anymore.
It is only the horses who are full of words.
Napowrimo 2017: Write an elegy centered around a signature phrase of theirs.
Mary McCray
Written by
Mary McCray
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