I Shout Their Names

I Shout Their Names January 25, 2010

I’m at an age where those I’ve known

for years are dying. Some go quick, like

snow on a warm day. Some more slowly;

as if every week is a tide that takes them

farther and farther away.

To lose someone you know is to be

seized by an invisible hand that pulls

a clump of earth from your heart.

Only after months is it possible to

realize—there is more room to feel.

Now I see your faces in the knots of

trees and chase leaves because I some-

how think they hold things you

meant to say. Now I cry at garlic

bread because you loved its smell.

Perhaps this is your gift to us:

to take up space so far in that

when you go, you empty us out.

And in our grief, we look for you

everywhere till against our will

we rediscover the world.


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  • Joan

    I shared this one with my 88 year old mother who today was lamenting that so many of her friends are dying. Her response via email, “Yes, YES!”