Mementos – a poem

On the first anniversary of my friend, the poet and disability service worker, Sarah Knorr’s death, this emerged on my morning walk in the woods with our pup Buddy. Guessing you may concur.

We say “passed”
as if they’d tossed a football.

Some use “transitioned”
so you imagine a Star Trek
transporter beam.

It doesn’t help.

Lately it seems
not a month goes by. . .

until I hear myself tell the boys,
“You want a reliable career?
They’re called funeral directors now.”

I need to get out, get on with it.
Live on in their name, as we say.

But it does get lonely in here.

Like when you think of a joke
that only they’d get
and look around to finger
some trinket left behind.

Mt. Whitney Viewed from Bristlecone Pine Road – a poem

Out here in the desert
the summit just a snaggle-tooth
in a granite gumline.

Anyone, they say, can reach the peak of peaks
though the air is thin and the summer heat brutal.
Up there at night you can freeze to death.

But if you prepare, then dare, all it takes
is what made you a toddler, your one step
then another trudging resolution,
until you stand atop a sea of rock
and nothing anywhere higher.

Who wouldn’t want to do that?
But why, you ask?

Well, to go with friends and
reach the top of something
look around at the world at our feet
come down, look up, and nod

having tested for once the lie
that distance makes everything small.