For Those Who Have Died
For some who die I hold their last farewell
longer than names. They are more than names.
They are private bodies, deeper than forests.
For days I have been Gretel wandering lost
among their occasional streams of light.
They speak their own fairytales with swollen
tongues, hot with medication and weakness.
For some I steal away, a thief who steals
time with someone else. There are too many
autumn leaves rustling in wind. My breath belongs
to me but sometimes air refuses to be held back.
My tiredness lays heavy on fragile stems.
So I slip away to bring them what they can
no longer hold. When I return, they are gone.
For some there are only strangers like me
who push them further than friends can.
I am a weight that ties them down,
knots them to earth. Only their fingers
can untie the boatman's twist. They
control the rope that can pull
them to safety or dangle them into death.
For some there is no true passing as they
linger in all I remember. They are snapshots,
photos that are within me waking and sleeping.
They dust my forehead and hold me lighter
than air. For them I move from room
to room, passing on words and touching hands.
I am the album that keeps them all together.
Copyright 1988, Christina-marie
Christina-marie has been published in Hiram Poetry Review, Chicago Review, The Poetry
Review, Negative Capability, The Old Red Kimono, Great Lakes Review, and Huron Review.
"For Those Who Have Died" first appeared in Caliban, #5. Her e-zine publications include
World Poetry and Moondance.