In Praise of a Friend Whose Dream Has Died

Praise and grief sleep together in the same bed.

(Martín Prechtel)

It has taken many months for her dreams to wither,

and many months more for her to endure the ache

of the implacable unraveling of hope, until even

its papery husk, despite her care, has been snipped

away, swept away, like dust into the corners of the

house that had once been theirs.

The door of their home has slammed behind

him for the last time as the door of his heart has

also closed. He drives out of the yard away

from her and from their children and from

all their dreams to another woman’s bed, in

another woman’s house, and to another woman’s

future that never will be hers.

The vineyard they were going to build together

surrounds her like a shipwreck. The life she

had imagined bleeds out of barrels into pools

of vinegar on a dusty floor. In her dreams, yellow

butterflies float above the puddles, but when she

enters the wreckage with eyes wide open the butterflies

are buried under dust, rat droppings and cobwebs.

At least her children are safe, the boy and girl

curled up in darkness in their blankets, while

in her room she writes beneath a cone

of yellow light, beneath the weight of

all her years of broken promises until she finally

breaks apart in the tide of tears she always

carried in her heart and always will.

Let her time of grief be our time of praise: She will

clean and oil every rusty tool in the winery and

sell the vinegar for less than half its worth when

it was wine, content to know that it will

nourish people she will never meet. Watch her

plant raspberries in the ruins. Hear her sing in the

kitchen as she cooks her children’s breakfast.

Under moonlight in her empty room let her type

as an offering to strangers the words she has been

wounded into writing. Let her wrestle with the

loneliness she thought would cripple her. When the

morning light arrives, watch her dance in the

autumn-colored dress she has stitched together

out of butterflies and dust and the sea inside her.

© 2010 J.M. Keating

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