Death

Real Hero (fem)

Anyone can slay a dragon, she told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.

Nothing More (remix)

If there is any secret to this life I live, this is it: the sound of what cannot be seen sings within everything that can. & there is nothing more to it than that.

Listening Well (for Erik) (fem)

She had the gift of stopping time & listening well so that it was easy to hear who we could become & that was the future she held safe for each of us in her great heart & you may ask, what now? & I hope you understand when we speak softly among ourselves & do not answer just yet for our future is no longer the same without her.

Young Tomatoes

My grandma used to plant tomato seedlings in tin cans from tomato sauce & puree & crushed tomatoes she got from the Italian restaurant by her house, but she always soaked the labels off first.

I don’t want them to be anxious about the future, she said. It’s not healthy.

Wish List

I wish you could have been there for the sun & the rain & the long, hard hills. For the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road. For the people laughing & crying & remembering at the end. But, mainly, I wish you could have been there.

Value of a Nickel

I buried a nickel under the porch when I was 8, she said, but one day my grandma died & they sold the house & I never got to go back for it. A nickel used to mean something, I said. She nodded. It still does, she said & then she started to cry.

Treasures

The most important thing you leave behind is the stuff that turns into treasures when children find it.

Thousand Moments

I still remember the day the world took you back & there was never time to thank you for the thousand scattered moments you left behind to watch us while we slept.

Temptations

The plane shook so much I thought I was in a bowl of metal jello & I heard him say, If you & Mom die, can I go live with the Temptations?

Straight Forward

Start here & go until you die, he said. What’s so complicated about that?

Stand Still

The loss is not yours alone, she said & you will see it in their eyes when they do not think you are watching. How long does it take? I said & she put her hand on my chest & we did not speak.

Silver Needle

Each night, all the years we were growing up, she sat in the big yellow rocking chair & pieced together our lives with countless stitches of her silver needle.

Silver Cord

connected by a silver cord that hums with sadness the further it is stretched

Secret Notes

He wrote secret notes to people he hadn’t met yet. Some of them aren’t even born, he said, but we live in a strange neighborhood & they will need help figuring things out & I won’t always be around to explain it to them.

Scent

When she wore the hat, even many years later, she could always smell her mother’s perfume & it was hard to remember she was supposed to be alone.

Run Proud

He taught me to run high on my toes. I will always remember his words: run proud & remember you are alive.

Relative Worries

I’m not worried about ghosts in general, she said. Just the ones that are related to me.

Real Hero (masc)

Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.

Real Dream

This holds a promise to all the children of the world, which is how you can tell it’s a real dream of America & not one of those dreams of fear & death that glitter so brightly on tv.

Permanence

Just because they die, she said, doesn’t mean they go away.