vendredi 5 juin 2009

My One-Time Only Daughter

for Victoria

i'm standing by your casket and i think,
you're not in it, this is not you at all
but the shell of a girl i used to know

the girl that gave me more joy in a day
than any ray of sun or moon or song
or the goings on at any film festival

you were my morning star for five years,
i brushed your sleek black hair, dressed
you up like the adorable doll you were

but the clothes didn't matter, it was
the beautiful girl in them, with your
big smile breaking out on apple lips

those beautiful thin lips on your
angular face with big cheekbones, big
eyes, big everything! vick...

during the funeral, monty cried as
he recounted the daily phone call between
brother and sister, just to touch bases

and how bright your whole life was, how
much joy you gave to nieces and nephews,
how you were always thinking of them

and putting aside trinkets in twenty little
bags that lined the wall, tootsy pops
and barrettes and little stuffed animals

monty talked about how you'd coached
football for david douglas high school and even
played, there was a picture of you in your uniform

but no matter what you did, it was a winning
game: daughter, sister, niece, auntie, stockbroker,
sportswoman, flyfisherman, and at long last, wife

your last great role after finding true love,
waiting until you were 34 to marry because
you waited for someone with a heart big

enough for the girl who had the biggest heart
in the world, someone upon whom you could
depend, and he came and he saw and he loved you

and then taken away as quickly as love
came! an illness that resolved over christmas
but came back to bite us all in the ass, o vick!

we weren't prepared to lose you so fast!
there are hundreds of people at this funeral,
and you touched everyone of them, and me...

for me you will always be a little girl between
five and ten, you will always be that needy little
girl who was so sweet and affectionate

i made sure you had what you needed then:
good food, clean clothes, piano lessons, and
good grades at school, you were a natural

and now a slide comes up just for me, it's you
in that awful green dress, your braids coming
undone because i was so bad at it, but

your face in the frame of the school photo
is tattoed on my heart forever as it breaks,
your big angular face, smile, big bright eyes

o! this was our time, love, this was our place
five years out of the history of the whole human
race and this love was the epitome of it!

and i stand here at your casket, and i close
my eyes so tight against this hurt and
all i can do is say, thank you, thank you

for letting me in so close so long ago...
you couldn't have done better with your life,
vick, do you see all these people crying?

they loved you like i did, and a life so
filled with love is worth more than 100 years
without it, and what i'm trying to say is this:

we'll miss you, we'll cry, we might even pull
out our hair, but we'll remember how good it
was when you were near... i'll remember

every inch and every minute of the good
that was you, and i'll try not to regret how
i left when everything fell apart between

your mother and me, and how it took me
twenty years to call you and say i'm sorry and
i'll always remember how you forgave me

because that's how big your heart was,
that's how all the joy in you rubbed out all
the bad in us, and that is how you became

my only daughter again, my eternal fix
on what is true: how only love can stay,
how nothing but love matters

because you once lived on this earth,
because you taught us what love was about,
it is through you we were saved, as by jesus

goodbye, daughter, lover, darling sister and friend,
it's one year past your funeral now, and i must
weep and wail, and then take comfort

because it's you, vick, it was always you,
because that's what you taught us to do,
you taught us how to love with a love

big enough to conquer the world!
and i think, life is a school where our
hearts break again and again

until we are saved by the end of it...

3 commentaires:

Pisces Iscariot a dit…

s with "Yellow Vinyl Chair" I find it difficult to pass comment on these words since they are so deeply personal - I can only say that the vein of grief, both for your loss and for the horrors of your past, are very close to the surface when you write these poems - I hope the process is cathartic.

Liz R-S a dit…

Dearest Laura ... I can feel the blood of your sadness draining through you from your top to your bottom. This is a day of mourning. It is your day of mourning. Reach out your arms, touch her. Draw her to you. It is only love that matters, endures .. lives on .. and never dies. Love to you my friend. Love and hugs, tight hugs.

Brenda a dit…

O, sweetheart! I can't imagine how hard it's been. What a shock, to lose her so suddenly. You have written a worthy poem, from your ample talent, this gift, this memento, a beautiful tribute to a beautiful daughter. Heartbreaking. Brave. Tender. Memories so raw, so comforting. A lifetime of remembering. She is always present. Love never dies, never.

Hugging you... thank you for sharing, Laura. xoxo