Where I Found You

Taken when she was still trying to work while going through treatment for ovarian cancer.

In the early morning hours of January 3rd, 2015 my wife, Karen passed away from ovarian cancer. On this day, the eighth anniversary of her passing, I decided to repost this poem. While no relationship may be perfect, I’ve come to realize perfection is found in the things people share. Karen and I shared our love of dogs, so of course, in a dream, I met her as I walked the dogs, and one day I’ll meet her again, but when that happens, she’ll be the one walking all the dogs.


I thought to find you on the path
between the heather patches.
You were not there.
I thought to find you along the roads 
from here to other places I traveled,
but there were no traces.
I thought to find you along the routes
where I walked the dogs.
Of course, there you were,
ready to laugh and say they loved you best--
as you always did.
Taking treats from your pocket,
you fed and petted them.
Looking up at me, you said I had more
grey than last you saw, but it didn’t look bad.
Your idea of a compliment, I know.
I killed the weeds of anger over things like that.
Now I must learn to trim back the hedges of grief.

Get electric hedge trimmers, you laughingly said.
Then whispered I should learn from the dogs 
and you’d meet me along the path
between the heather one day.
And that was all.
You were gone.

Washed

At the Beach – Image by KL Caley

https://new2writing.wordpress.com/2021/06/03/writephoto-beach/#like-5743

( An older poem written in 2015 while in Provincetown, MA.  Revised for this week’s writephoto challenge.)

At sunrise over water,

        Remembering as if in a dream  

The child and you and me

As we stood by a sea

Half a world away.

Both of you now baptized differently by my tears.

 

And for and from you,

I am left with things neither given

Nor felt in years,

 Linked by all the fears

To form over a decade of a life

Lived like a stranger

In my own shrinking skin.

 

I have stood

Since the dawn

At this ocean’s edge

Waiting, waiting.

And now at noon

The rain begins.

Fierce pelting blows

Washing me clean

Of all I know

Or dare to dream.

 

For living continues

Within my own skin

 

The Blanket

Image courtesy of Elftown.com

Written in response to Sammiscribble.Wordpress.com Weekend Writing Prompt #154- Use the word “Fabric” and no more than 131 words

A tiny explosion within the diagnosis:

Stage 3C ovarian cancer,

Blasts a hole in our family fabric.

Threads of surgeries and chemo

Stitch it shut.

A hard-knotted mess left.

We live without holes a few months.

 

New scans, blood tests.

Cancer slices a nice size gash,

fraying at the edges.

More chemo knits shut our fabric, 

No longer perfect with knots, scarred seams,

But whole.

 

Six months,

A rending– bowel resection,

Rips– chemo for a bit,

You stopped, couldn’t do anymore.

The rips, the tears—too many

Too many damaged places to repair.

We learn to live with holes, rips

Fraying tears, worn places—

Until you are no longer there,

Until there is no us—but the child and me,

And no blanket left to cover

What was left of us.

 

The Perfect Legend

image courtesy of windowtoparadise.com

Written in response to Eugi’s Weekly Prompt-

“Legend”- April 20, 2020

The day you left,

You became a legend

In the child’s heart.

True, she was a woman/child

By that time, but you—

Dying too young,

You became a legend,

Crafted to perfection

In her child’s heart.

Her memory forging steel

Fiction tales of your deeds

With iron ore dust of truth.

And I became the villain,

Who had neither the words,

The charms, the incantations

For healing to whisper

Over your body,

Nor had I the spells

To cast so you would live.

Thus, I was guilty of crimes against

Humanity in the book where she kept

A record of all my misdeeds, sins, crimes.

And now, she is grown.

A woman now and she finds

I am just a little less guilty,

Not so much the criminal,

In the present.

But you,

You will always be

The perfect legend.