VIGIL

She is sixteen when leukemia claims her
a girl of nut-brown hair and letter sweaters 
the brightest star in the local firmament.
She outshines her brother even in death.
The church overflows onto Route 12
the April afternoon of her funeral.
She leaves behind a mother, a brother, a father.
Each evening the family sits at her graveside
as if awaiting benediction.
That summer her friends bring picnics to her grave.
The red votive lamp on her headstone is always lit.
It shines in easy view of the family’s kitchen window
and glows warmly through
	blizzard, rain and star shine.
Deer walk daily through the churchyard 
	years sift down like snow.
The son graduates, moves to Bradford.
The father works and works and works.
The mother sits
	by the glowing lamp.









Deposit Photos Image 124351762_xl_2015.jpg 

Published by

Cynthia M. Sheward

Cynthia Sheward has written poetry since she was a child. She was born in Massachusetts but spent her young life in New Jersey. She applied her English degree from Arcadia University teaching junior-senior high school in Vermont the 70’s. In the 80s, she and her husband built their own house with their own hands in the mountains of North Carolina. In the 90s, she returned to NJ where she worked for a Fortune 500 corporation until her retirement. Her work has been published in Friends Journal, Evening Street, the Bennington Banner, Fiber Arts Magazine, the Mountain Times and various other print media. She currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

9 thoughts on “VIGIL”

  1. You remember their name. Most amazing. I had a photo of a deer in that cemetery but cannot find it. I remember seeing their three snow mobiles coming down the hill at night.

    Like

  2. The red votive lamp on her headstone is always lit.
    It shines in easy view of the family’s kitchen window
    and glows warmly through
    blizzard, rain and star shine.

    I love those lines…they tell me of a love that endures through the seasons…of the caring family she leaves behind…and of the power love has to reach beyond the grave to warm a mother’s lonely heart. Such beauty in this poem. Thank you, Cindy. Love you.

    Like

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