Her Memories

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It was far away, she said,
remembering the year Hitler
and his angels seemed immortal,
long before the stroke looted
the storehouse of her past.


and now she is far from those
softly smoldering years,
sometimes looking back as if at
a distant farmhouse,
blindfolded by boards, crazed by
solitude, crushed by sky,
adrift on miles and miles of
singing prairie,


but somehow seen clearly
right down to the last rusty nail.


Then she recoils like a genie
back into the urn that is her
where the goal is just to wake
up each day and breathe.


Heart as quiet as the
black-eyed forest,
mind, a fading but eloquent light,
she'll search like someone
half-blind on their hands
and knees for a place, a date,
a name, a simple word,
yet succeed in taking me back
to a place now buried under
towers and regiments of
sleepwalkers all appearing
on the surface to be human.


And soon I see the sun of
her youth,
newly hatched from a pale
blue shell,
a wisp against my face like
baby's hair,


and I hear the winds that surf
the cornfields of a distant
when she leans against the
massive stone past
and brings forth a time:
the cotton balls she picked
till the summer was one vast
foamy sea to dismantle
bit by bit,

splinters from the wooden floors,
flashes of joys and sorrows
that settle like pollen
behind the eyes and lull her
into the sleep of remembrance
where paper-winged dreams
whirl by in droves,
chipping away at the
asphalt night that
separates Then from Now.


And while the embers of her
memories turn to ash a little
each day,
the landscape of her face,
where every winding trail
leads somewhere in the
past, tells me she's lived.


And all that she is,
that glowing spirit slowly
breaking through the skin
she waits in, tells me
she's lived well.


And that's all we are in
the end:
Souls hiding behind the
vapor of life that slowly
thins till we all show through.

We're not what we remember,
she says without words,
we are what is left shining
after the body fades away.


by Patricia Joan Jones

Author's Notes/Comments: 

For my dear friend, Catherine, who is missed more than words can say.

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onelilartist's picture

Well, let me say first that I had to stop to get my breath with this one. "More than words can say", you say. And yet, I felt the total anihilation of the human being and it's sorrowful demise, coupled with the grief of the friend who watched it in every word you wrote. I am so very sorry for your loss, but your friend Catherine was a truly blessed person to have a friend who so eloquently appreciated her while she was her and even after she went home. God bless you today.

You will never know what an impact your words have had on me.

Jessica onelilartist