Day 132 – Dorothy

Dorothy landed and was dizzy and I
refused to help I finally took
a bus to Atlanta and realized
why not

I was not so great and powerful I
was small and very frightened but
I wished with all
my heart
I wanted to help but I
have no
pow
er
s

I walked along the dogwood trees in bloom she
would’ve loved them I knew my
jig was up she had to go I had
to let her go
she wouldn’t find those
dogwood trees
if she stayed with me

she found Glinda

Glinda has magic

but if Glinda goes I
hope she knows
she never needed magic never
needed anybody never needed
me at all

wish I could help
I always
wished I
could

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Day 131 – For Doreen

I forgot to put on sunscreen for the funeral. I didn’t even change out my sneakers for the heels I had packed the night before, so worried about being respectful. I thought those things would matter but death has a way of mocking the little formalities we observe. The dead don’t care what you’re wearing.

But you would’ve reminded me about the sunscreen. The two of us, forever indoors and longing for the beach, our weekends filled with texting screenshots of art projects and Amazon purchases, were so looking forward to the summer we’ve earned. You took your vitamins and your Claritin and paid extra for the UV protection in your sunglasses. I skid in daily on four hours of sleep and haven’t eaten a real vegetable in weeks. Something in the great cosmic milieu tells me there’s something unfair in you being the one who had to go, and me being the one who got to stay. I can’t even remember to put on sunscreen.

Your funeral was filled with the sort of people who would not, and did not, care if I showed up in sneakers. They did not mind that I obviously have the self-preservation instincts of a small child, as evidenced by my beet-red arrival to the memorial. They didn’t judge because you didn’t judge.

You were so well-loved by everyone. It took me by surprise how much I had come to love you, not because of who you are but because of who I am. It may be self-centered to think about it, but I’m not sure I could scrounge up more than a handful of people if my funeral was tomorrow. I burn too many bridges. But you never did; even those who managed to offend you were treated with your signature grace. You left this world with no enemies, and you left it far better than you found it.

So perhaps, in the great cosmic milieu, there’s something fair after all about you being the one who earned that endless summer vacation, and me being the one who has to keep struggling on without you. Where you are you don’t need sunscreen; I’ll try to remember mine from now on.

Day 130 – Rocks

I know I am filling up my days
with rocks so I can
talk about how I stumble
I know exactly why each stone
is not enough

I sigh each time a pen
finds its way to my hands,
each time I lament out loud, “If only…”
and put it down
for another day
which isn’t coming

I know the fire is dead,
all smothered out
by the pebbles that life has dropped,
or so I have to believe
to keep on believing

I’m smart enough to fool myself,
busy enough to ignore
that there is a current running wild
inside my veins

and it is terrified that I
can’t make a spark

Day 129 – Patient

You’ve been holding on
and they’ve been holding out

They won’t tell us
how far you’ve gone

Days and days of
holding our breath

but they don’t feel
what we felt

when you opened your eyes

they don’t know
what we knew

that you wouldn’t give up
so easy

Day 127 – Grief

Grief is very much like
carrying around a bucket filled to the brim.

No one asks why you’re tiptoeing around
trying not to jostle it; they know
one false move can tip it over.
Even forgetting for just a moment,
laughing a little too freely
can bring unexpected pain,
can pour you out