To Lois Jean (ní Jackson) Buckner
[18 Jan 1940- 5 Feb 2013]
Mid-February sun slowly
Melts the long-tooth ice-smile
On the east hillside.
The shining skeleton
Of a forsaken umbrella
Lies naked on broken bricks.
Large, deep-squawking ravens
Scatter, flutter, then glide
To the church rooftop.
Rows of the whispering faces
Of strangers and family
Line the glossy wooden pews.
The white Paraclete's haloed,
But stoic gaze delivers
The Cross of an Undeserved Christ.
Sweet snapdragons, spider mums, roses
And tiny trumpets of bright gladioli weave
Through the loving head-spray.
A small white bloom of Peace Lily
Withers, but two more have emerged,
Unfurling in prayerful hope.
Dad, whispering, echoes Psalm 23
To a dirge of broad organ chords;
Gloved hands lower her bier.
Perched, bright Birds-of-Paradise
Promise him the progress of yet
Another day, without her.
Michael P. McGarrity taught for 27 years at Connellsville Area High School. He now lives in Virginia, teaching at Nandua Middle School in Onley and at Eastern Shore Community College.