Monday, November 4, 2013

Reuniting at a funeral

Pain in thumb pads as I type
out the seductive joy of sorrow.

We age, we die, or we remain
crowded and alive like grass

in the room around the casket,
swaying with memories,

leaning into a dimple or curl
I want to recognize, but can’t

seem to bring back your face.
But I know it is you, daughter

of the deceased, my childhood
friend, the one I lost 43 years

ago to a random move away
but who holds my arthritic hands

so firmly, this pain the place
from where we now live,

the tiny beads of sweat I loved
on your nose in summer, gone.


  1. Poignant! What more can one say? With the passage of the years, such reunions come with a disturbing regularity.

    1. Yes, George. Not having seen most of these old friends in at least 10 years, I spent a good part of our time together in a state of disbelief over how old we had gotten.

  2. So well said, Ruth. I know the feeling well.

    1. Thanks, Gwen. I was astonished that this, my dearest friend for a couple of years at age 11 or 12, was unrecognizable as an adult. BUT, our spirits recognized each other instantly.

  3. she has tiny beads of sweat on her nose in summer? and you loved her for it? how is there any room left in the world for anything else but such love?


    1. Erin, it's true that it filled me that day, and then I realized how it had been in me all this time! and will be ever more. How is this possible?

  4. I have tears in my eyes, Ruth. I wish I could have shared that funeral with you. There would have been so many to see...let's make sure we talk about it/them on Skype today. Also, you've reminded me of how suddenly, out of the blue, I am in FB contact with 2 sisters and a brother from that same time period...and I don't recognize them either! It's so strange how life circles around to reintroduce us to each other, isn't it.

    1. Boots, it was an incredibly wonderful and beautiful encounter for me, with Lori, with the folks of the church, with all of Bob's family, even those I didn't have a chance to speak with. I am eager to hear about those you have remet. This was such a profound time for me, just as returning to Lake Michigan was in August, rekindling something from childhood I'd lost, and truth be told, didn't ever know I had.


  5. Intensely personal to you, Ruth, yet, at the same time, as usual, you draw us in and make it a shared experience, universal and common to us all. Like Erin, I love those tiny beads of sweat. This detail makes the whole poem for me.

    1. Robert, it is extraordinary how emotions can be relayed through something so small as those tiny beads of sweat. I can't tell you how grateful I am that you, and others, felt something here. I am currently knocked out over how much we experience through the stories of others!


All responses are welcome.