Legacy

jason-wong-473727-unsplash
Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

At the dinner party, eleven people,
not twelve.
A striking redhead, warmly smiling—
the one whose world had recently halved.
Those of us who didn’t know
wouldn’t have known.

I’m used to death
ringing a bell that won’t stop
singing of loss as love’s
forgotten child—a call to mass
sung down the long corridors
of bone.

The mouth that can hush it
speaks to me
of a love built brick by brick,
circling a great and dangerous fire,
holding that heat
like a hand to the heart
when only ash is left.

Has lips full of secret amens,
stretching a smile beyond
mere courtesy, until it cracks
me open, I who have not
yet travelled that road
or those blurred miles from home.

Night falls before we know it:
death has a thing for a man about
to retire. Like a virus, it jumps
from acquaintance to friend to kin,
no sympathy for women and children.
Taking on mass and weight, given

a name, it terribly crowds a room.
This being human—to matter.
Through our bodies. Past them.
Her smile all I can see
of love’s fierce alchemy—bright
crack of light escaping a closed door.

Another poem from my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press here and from Amazon here

 

12 thoughts on “Legacy

  1. Line after line I drew breath. As I finished it the first time, whispered to the empty room “wow. holy smokes.” I’m not sure when the last time I used the term holy smokes was. Must have been inspired by the imagery around this unfolding. Deeply insightful Lynne. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris, a holy cow from you is really special – I know what a discerning eye you have as a poet yourself! Thank you, thank you for such a heartfelt response!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chris, I’m laughing because my brain dropped a cow in your smokes but I’m thinking they mean much the same – except of course, as you said, “smokes” is way more relevant to the poem!

        Like

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