"If I should fall behind" - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
— for Darcy, for Teresa
Even while wrapped in woven strands of sunlight,
threats of oncoming dusk seemed much too vivid.
You endured those days with such amazing grace,
your fiery beauty echoing, clinging as perfumed mist,
long after you'd walked away.
Yet, peaches were ever buoyant, just within reach;
eight heavy branches bent low so you might reach the ripest orb,
drenched in morning's frail, impermanent dew,
glistening as its vibrant, sticky silk trickled down like liquid velvet,
tickling flesh with laughter and life, staining palms
with a roseate glow as your eyes shone with ancient wisdom.
Fields of unshucked corn filled your inner visions
with their delicate deliciousness waiting for you there
with buttered hands, strong enough for searching
those infinite pastures planted for such souls to wander through,
those verdant rows standing at attention,
to wonder at the depths of yellow joy
when earth met water in a cascade of brilliance,
stretched through nascent soil to provide sustenance
for all who sought its nurturing fragrance,
its holy bursts of flavor dancing wildly
upon your tongue.
Perhaps, crouched inside those dreamy popsicle days,
inhabited by those cruel blade nights,
you might have turned to Sylvia for understanding
while you were lost within your darker moments,
searching for a compass you were certain
you'd hidden somewhere, now forgotten and misplaced -
perhaps the stars might guide your path
if you could only find true north
and recall the legends, the myths,
the remnants of astronomy.
Sylvia could only shake her head, quiet and solemn,
knowing there was nothing she could whisper
that might penetrate the misted gloom.
permeate the surrounding silence,
to release you from those incoming tides of fear -
her own battles diminished her, sucked the juice from her life,
leaving only shards of bone and animated skin to parade with -
her fingers could no longer point the way home -
not for herself, you or anyone else.
You needed a sense of terra firma,
a private island safely ensconced from high winds,
its distinct edges distant from the onslaught of water,
as it could only weigh you down with wet sorrow.
Empty shells cast upon the terrible shores
bore an echo of the sea, its only song
the empty light house could remember
during those tempestuous storms
burrowing, raging beneath your skin.
Those who never knew you
feel the absence of your presence,
feel the grief of beauty once here, now gone.
Those who loved you best
smile softly through their tears,
grateful you ever existed,
thankful you drew a single breath,
releasing it in song.