My writing group lost a member recently and it was a shocking blow. I wrote this poem in honor of plm sagara.
We ate Lifesavers in the graveyard
and walked amongst the half dead flowers,
clacking like dried bones,
baked from too much sun.
I thought about the lonely fact
that I never knew you well enough
to know if you would appreciate
the irony of the sweetness on my tongue.
There were bodies with the dead,
alive, planting living things in the ground,
soft smiles turned down,
hoping something would grow.
When I was a kid I used to believe
these places were for the long gone
and I could feel the chill of so many ghosts,
breathing down my neck.
Now that I’m older,
I know these places are for us,
the ones left behind.
We gather, in small knots of grief,
bent like the wind and the half dead flowers,
over graves that have been forgotten.
Who will remember your grave?
I stand watch in the quiet cool
of a room full of strangers,
writers without pens reading words on walls,
huddled around the white flame of filled blank pages.
I can’t scream about who you were to me,
as people reminisce about who you weren’t,
because I can claim no ownership over the past,
I only know the words you have written.
And the long sigh of a dying breath,
was never mine to witness,
so I eat another Lifesaver
and hope it’s enough to buoy your memory.