Seven days ago I ran alongside the river
that has flowed through our city
before it was a city.
Water that never stands still,
passes people, cultures, politics, technology
without a second glance.
She keeps flowing a graceful flow
sometimes slow and lazy
sometimes turbid and raging,
Two days ago I stepped away
from my workplace
after thirty-two years
of coming and going.
Thirty-two years with a wonderful dentist,
Dr Brian Sacks, who was by my side
through the ebb and flow
of my life.
Over the years a wonderful dentist, yes,
but a wonderful friend, too.
I have had the pleasure of working with great staff
and of course, the best patients ever!
I am grateful for the opportunity
to have shared many stories
with many people
and to have had the opportunity to have been taught
so much by my patients over the course of my career.
I will miss the conversations and laughter.
I will miss the security of knowing
“where I am supposed to be” every morning
but I look forward to this new phase of my life-
flowing beside water that never stands still.
written through passage of time
float in the room.
An accordion rendition shared just so
squeezes in and out amongst memorabilia around the dwelling.
A birth tidbit distracts from pain in the moment.
Cherubic cheeks and bright eyes initiate brief anecdotes.
Photos lay in neat rows on the table,
frames polished and bright.
“They’ve taken them from his walls.
This one – she was a fighter. Ugly little thing,
fat head, big nose.”
Jack is gone.
A catch in her voice.
“We thought we’d have so much time together
now that our lives have quieted.”
Bare branches of the lilac hedge are stark,
unadorned with flowers or leaves.
They look brittle and frail
like the wisp of woman before me.
“I planted that from little slips taken from the farm.”
The shrubbery encloses the yard.
A thicket of tangled growth
hiding this slip of a woman from her neighbors.
“Jack and I met before the war.
I was working the switchboards.
He saw me standing by the mess hall kitchen sink
after dinner one evening, hands in soapy water.
‘What’s a guy gotta do to get a smile?’
That’s how we met.”
Jack is gone.
The hands with onion paper skin shake.
Sudsy water flashback hides the lines and blue-green veins
but not the grief.
“He built this house.
Realized quickly he may have taken on more than he could handle
but he saw it through. That’s what you do. You finish what you
start. We had a lot of good times
here in this old house.”
Jack is gone.
Black and white photo of a handsome young man
smiles from his perch on the countertop.
Thick black hair is swept roguishly to one side,
army attire impeccably neat.
His easy chair in the veteran’s home sits empty.
The walls of his room are bare.
A whispered tribute from his family home
sorts through memories.