5th January 2021

Fifteenth Elegy

Jen, I wept to hear

your mom's gentle Irish voice

at your wake, saying of you,

She was always there for people,

always helping people. She

seemed so frail that day, under-

standably, as if a mosquito's

breath could have knocked

her over. I don't know

how any of us got through

your obsequies, even I who

knew you less than three years

and loved you from the day

we met (that hot November

afternoon in Arlington).




I begin to recapitulate

details from other elegies.

How you called M----, well

into his 80s, a mack daddy,

how you smoked, the one

addiction you wouldn't

relinquish, how your foot

looked in a flip-flop as it

nudged the gas-pedal a bit

more forcefully than it

needed to, how you had

precious little use for the

disaster who would soon

occupy 1600, how you were

so forthright and fearless

but never abrasive in

speaking your mind.




My two-year medallion

sits in front of your prayer card,

with your smiling face under

a parted fringe of blond hair

that looks different

from the Jen that I knew.


That's it! You aren't smiling!

Well, you are, but it looks

tentative, shy, and you were

neither of those things! Your

eyes seem recessive, eyes

that flashed with liveliness.


(Forgive my ineptitude at saying

what I want, what I need, to say.)




As Paul Muldoon

wrote of Seamus Heaney,

I cannot thole, I cannot endure

the thought of you dead,

even two-and-a-half years later.

I cannot endure the thought

of ashes scattered

on the coast of Eire.




Why didn't you want to be buried, Jen?

Why couldn't there be a place

where I could visit you and weep

chest-battering sobs until the tears

left a lake by your grave?


I have a wee shrine here at home

where I pray for you, pray to you,

the chalice on the bookcase

against which your prayer-card leans.

Poetry by Thomas D The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2021-02-19 at 15:33

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F.i.in.e Moods The PoetBay support member heart!
So beautifully expressed, my heart goes out to you. There are emotional moments when words don't seem enough... I know hugs don't solve anything, but if I could, I would be doing that right now. Thanks for sharing your wonderfully talented poetry.

josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
Powerfully emotive, Thomas