First Real Spring Day without You
It’s sunny but son-less, birdsong and blossoms, and I remember how
you loved the row of blooming crab-apples in front of the Cardella’s house
and the different flowers in our yard whose names you
wanted to be reminded of each year.
You loved having the side deck to sit on with your pant legs rolled up
so the sun could heal your psoriatic legs
as you watched the boisterous birds, scampering squirrels and chipmunks--
and to stand on at night to stare up at the stars, scanning for meteors.
Even in the rain you’d stand there in the dark and converse with yourself--
your racing brain a churning treasure trove of data and imagined adventures,
sleep merely an exhausted state to fall into on the couch in the middle of the night,
as if you knew how little time you had in the body that would betray you.
Lox and bagels or bacon and croissants for Saturday breakfasts,
And roller-coaster amusement parks:
I’m trying to remember the things you found to love after moving north
so I can comfort myself when I think how you never seemed as happy
after we moved from your childhood home.
You delighted in discussing different religions
and observing how they all boiled down to the same thing--
but sometimes you worried about Revelations and people who might go to hell,
because one of your strangest friends kept insisting both were real and imminent; but
your God was love, and you loved your friends, though they were few and,
The more fragile ones you always took under your big wing, my sweet child,
as the mother cardinal in the old maple does now for her babies.
Today the dog found a baby robin blown out of its nest by last night’s storm,
but you weren’t here.
Tonight a friend described a subspecies of salamander she’d seen on TV
but she couldn’t remember the name, and you weren’t here to ask.
You were an old soul
and you still are,
as I sense you come to remind me every night at bedtime.
I never had to worry about your light shining on so brightly--
only about its brevity here on earth,
where it seems so dark now, even in the spring.
(Denise Thompson-Slaughter was born in Washington, D.C. and currently lives in Western New York. She received a B.A. in English from Rutgers University and worked many years as an academic editor. Her literary publications include two books of poetry, a mystery novella, two short stories, and brief memoir pieces.)
The Beautiful Space-