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Poem to be Left Behind
The things I want you to know will streak behind me, contrail. Think of it as me singing my way to God. I sing what I’ll carry. The moments I didn’t notice were the most holy, translucent because I’d lost my body to the world. Heaven will be a montage of those moments, “life more abundant.” But of what I remember, here’s what I’ll take with me like ricrac on my angel hem. The squat of a toddler studying grass, the chuff of an early-morning snowshovel, sparkling stars. Heavy books and ragged cheap ones, splayed. Lonely ceilings at 2 a.m., slammed doors. A deep breath at a mountain summit or after giving birth or before the argument begins. Music. Top-of-your-lungs car-radio at dusk with the windows down; down- on-my-knees hymns whispered bedside in grief, choirs, my children’s piano lessons, disco. Gorgeous years and hideous hours—I’d trade none of it. It passed too quickly, but only in retrospect. Aspen. Watching a teenager haul himself out of bed to do battle with the world once again. Clean sheets, tall tumblers of water with lemon, aunts laughing in the kitchen. The making of things out of words. Scent of my husband’s neck, of the scalp of a newborn—my newborn! Scent of the canvas of a tent inside which all my boys are tucked with me safe just as the rain begins. Listen, Loves, I have had my turn at the dance, God my partner. Sweet deep muscle ache I’ll take with me, unresenting. Know this: I’ve had my share; I’ll sleep soundly and well.