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.

The Dirt of Chimayo

Image is my own
As if you erupted
from an eternal spring,
an immortal thing,
I gave you away
when last I prayed
here at Chimayo.
When kneeling
I scooped the healing dirt
as I spoke silent prayers of thanks
for my heart bravely facing
shocks of resuscitation
after years spent
barely beating
in stuttering grief.

Upon return today,
I kneel to scoop
the healing dirt,
asking in silent prayer
a blessing of forgiveness
for giving you away
too easily—
thus, killing you,
bleeding you of all hope,
beyond resurrection,
beyond resuscitation.

In the dirt of Chimayo,
this healing earth,
from this place of faith,
sifted through my hands,
I bury you, a mortal thing,
I gave away too easily
to an undeserving faith,
in this dirt of Chimayo.

Seven Years of Visits to the Garden

image is my own

Each new year brings 
Now this garden grief
Nourished by regret

Each year, this day, here—
Standing, kneeling, sitting—I
Spend tears, words, wishes

All meaningless now,
In the barren garden grief
Flowers never bloom

Seven years gone now--
Nothing roots, though it has tried,
In the garden grief inside

Color Dreams

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/05/26/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-may-26-2020/

Today’s prompt: End a piece of prose or poetry with the phrase “I miss you”

 

Don’t know what to do

when I dream of you.

Waking, I want to drench

my brain in pure bleach,

soaking it through,

until all the colors of you

out of my soul leach

and no longer do I miss you.

Lessons

Dia de los muertos..makeup by June courtesy of Pintrest.com

This is the lesson of you,

Oh, the things you do teach–

Wearing your blue mantle

Lined in blackness

With your crooked fingers

Tipped in painted red do you reach

Ripping out hearts

Adding to a collection

You keep in a box.

 

Until the day of the dead,

When you light your fake fires

And scented candles,

Spread your blanket

For the time to admire

All hearts in the box of your collection,

Chant your incantations and prayers

To La Muerte for protection

From the evil you spread

And La Llorona for aid

Searching for the newest victim

From whom your red tipped claws long to rip a heart.

 

Walking to Race Point

Race Point Lighthouse Sunset Photograph by John Burk

Sleeplessness always told the story

between the back when and now,

what she once thought a game,

tracks leading nowhere.

This last section of living

something not well lived.

A swirl of memory

piercing through knots

too tight to be undone.

She had lived without a plan,

having a heart that spoke in tongues

she had yet to understand.