Farewell and Welcome

As the heat of August afternoons
invaded your home above the
trees in this Mediterranean
port, we opened the windows, like
sails to catch a breeze, any
slip of wind, to comfort you.

From the street below us, the
sad sound of an accordion
floated up like a prayer, but
you, in your skirt of
fire, couldn’t hear it.

(Anyway, it was just another
prayer, like all of ours and
all of yours, none of which
were ever answered.)

It’s Winter now with
ice and snowdrifts
here in this mountain
village far from
your empty
bed on the other
side of this world.

I wanted to be with
you when you
left us, to be in the
crowd on the
platform waving and
crying as your
train pulled away with
the sound of our tears
growing fainter every
second until you could
barely see us anymore as
you passed into the white
silence with only the
comfort of knowing how
much we still see you,
still moving in the
empty spaces in
which you used
to bring your
light into our lives.

© J.M. Keating 2021

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