Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Winternamels, 52°

I remember Pete's funeral to a degree.
Grief has a way of washing
         most of
        the detail.


         am   left

       with                     a chalk

outline        made of

  ashes          and




It was the first time I wondered if death required a dress code.
It was the first time I saw my father weep in public.
It was the first time our surviving members
held hands in the saddest of all daisy chains
accept for
Robbie who held a palm frond
                                                                                          and sat apart from us because
we all have our way of hiding
and a drunk is many things but
subtle is not one of them.

Even Jennifer was there,
the sister who "doesn't do death".
I learned that day that you could be
present but really
somewhere else
                                                                                           far away.

I choked out a memorial speech last minute
for my parents who could not,
cracking jokes as Pete would want it.
It ended with the Little Rascals hand solute;
a wave good-bye under the chin.

The service was filled with people Pete had saved.
Suicide prevention success stories
shook my hand, confused by the loss
of the hand that saved them.
We were a room full of hot hair
                                                                                            floating about
without a string to ground us.

I remember Margaret most of all.
She was as vibrant as the tiny
film canisters she painted with
winter scenes that included the
temperature of the landscape.
It was her signature left in degrees.
I can't explain why
but in the moment I LOVED THIS.
It took me somewhere else                                                   far away
closer to heaven, cool, and snow peaked.

Robin eggs blue,
her business card
hatched this morning
from the black depths
of a crowded top drawer.

In this moment
I had to look                                                                          her up.

She died
a few years after my brother
following Pete slowly
                                                                                              a tired balloon rising
from an open hand.

Fahrenheit or celsius?
Her obituary lacks how hot or cold
her resting place is
but it is 52° currently;

                                                                                              in her memory.

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