LONG LIFE

Nothing says elder like grab bars
installed in your shower and tub
to keep one from slipping
when soapy and dripping
and hitting the floor with a thud.

Nothing says senior like sneakers
worn with any and all sorts of dress
to keep one from wobbling
ungracefully hobbling
though safe, not designed to impress.

Nothing says ancient like groaning
every time one gets up or bends down
and the need for a prop
to help pull oneself up
lest you’re stuck all day long on the ground.

Nothing’s as lovely as living 
long enough for what’s listed above
letting go of the strife
and arranging your life 
with a focus on those whom you love.





 

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.









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