Passages—in memory of Jack Myers
by Marian Aitches
One by one, birds fly through the wide hall —
shadows on fire – lit walls
brighter than the night outside.
A swallow soars in by the south door,
traces high rafters. Open sky.
The time it takes to pass to the north end,
span of a life, so said a poet centuries ago.
Dia de Los Muertos at Mission Park South —
We speak with Grandma in her grave.
San Antonio light spikes across waxwings
roosting in cedars, trees of the dead.
1896 –1986. Symmetry in numbers, balance of a life —
ridiculous chrysanthemums in a pock – marked urn.
Mama cries. I rise like a note in a song.
Life, the dash on the headstone,
space between the birth of light
and the night when her spirit flew.
Standing here, who will know the stories?
The grandmother who lived like a hummingbird —
drunk in a hot pink ocean of penta flowers.
What can a dash say of the music she made?
The day you died a white bird drifted into
my kitchen, circled away into night;
bones begged for a come with me
but the spirit said stay. I am here with you.
We will drink red wine under turning trees, remember
leaning back – to – back on October porches —
chrysanthemum explosions on the west wall.
Another swallow high in the eaves reaches
the end of the noisy hall, laughter
of men at full tables stopped by a poem
singing fallen heroes and radiant ladies about to grow
dim with grief. No. We want something more —
songs about joy, more hours reciting the light
before dark calls the monster inside.