With the publication of Winter Sun come the warm remembrances of the ways so many folks shared that difficult journey with us. This poem by Ciretta M. Carroll is a wonderful example of that compassionate sharing. Thank you Ciretta, for being such a nourishing part of the story.
Here’s the Thing
(for Janice and Phil)
Slowly the news of your reality came to
Most of us in this modern age on our screens—
Distance made into almost none at all
We could hear the curtain pulled along the track on the ceiling—
Drawing a tight circle around her bed and each other
Visibility really didn’t matter as your words conveyed the gravity of it
And the lightness of your love
Until the observers in their waiting rooms were almost blind.
There were her fine features and perfect presence
And the obscenity of what you both were suffering
And You: making a way out of no way—
Not one of us didn’t know how lucky you were
Even in this horrible juxtaposition of
Fall of dice and shuffle of cards.
I knew your walk. I could almost feel the fire of it.
You, doing the smallest things with the greatest care.
Somewhere in the time of it, the blanket that was
Wrapped around her was pushed slowly ’til it
Folded and piled upon itself and
Became the velvety ridges
Of the mountains that she knew by heart.
And here’s the thing:
What you (both) showed us is as steadfast and
Obvious as those accordion pleated stones.
How it must have been for her, the comfort in your hands,
Robbed of everything and nothing—
Standing against the erosive quality of disease
triumphant in her choices, in her judgment, fortune, wisdom, and grace.