I was walking in a bookstore when the phrase, “we always believed that she could fly” came into my mind, loudly. That night, a poem arose. The details are from my mother’s memorial….
detail of weathered tombstone, barnett, VT
we stood in a circle about the grave
some read poems and some
chose silence. the funeral director
placed her ashes into the hole
while redwing blackbirds sang
in the fields. we always assumed
that she could fly, but then we
were only children, eager to cling
to childish things
the birds know long before I
of this coming, this winter, the aching moans
of geese raining warnings
from the late summer sky.
most will soon be leaving,
sailing the invisible seams of gravity,
heading south ahead of the freeze.
but we will stay on,
as the days fall away.
I am the heir to generations of winter,
and winter will I leave
to my sons.
we are all Jacobs in this long night,
wrestling our angels — I will not release you
until you bless me. what
is your name?
we all crave grace, the unmerited gift
of exemption, yet we each must make this flight
alone, each must face
the coming of night,
each must rise beyond
the utility of words, passing through
on wings of angels, echoing
their aching moans
each of us flying south, each of us
heading for home
J.A. Fink © 2013