The water left to us
For Frank Congdon
This time it’s through the back door, draped in burgundy velvet like the wine you drank in Malta, or was it Vienna, yes, Vienna. A lifetime of breathing sweet particled air: the passing scents of estranged women, the rich orphans of widowed kitchens, the heavy salt of Mexican seas and the savory whirl of spitted pork each bring you home at last to your true properties.
So we carry and place you behind your favorite chair, the one John Wayne passed in front of a thousand times chasing rustlers and outlaws, being chased by Indians and curvy Irish women; the same chair your doting dog sat beside you in every moment of every day guarding your diminishing breath as if he saw to it that each one was filled with all the promises that might ensure rich and endless afternoon skies that a nap might slowly appear.
This is not a way you ever imagined you would come into this house. No glass of root beer iced and waiting, no strip of steak searing its protein kiss in your hungry mouth. Food and liquid don’t matter any more. They are emblems of the living and there are other dulcitudes to experience.
We all come back to our elements, in time, the sulfur, the phosphorous, the carbon and calcium, the oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, potassium, sodium, magnesium, the copper and zinc, the iron and all the traceless lodes that wind their way through the caverns of our living, each essential for the days to arrive, one upon one upon one.
Leave us then to color, to noise, to the songs of engine and meadowlark, to words and the eloquence of silence. Leave us to pleasing shapes that make of an eye a place for art, to caress and touch and the solitude of our dreams, to aroma and the memories that live deeply in the nose. And leave us dearly to the water left to us who would give it all gladly back in tears, who would offer some to sprinkle in flowers so that spring might arrive when you do.
March 9, 2006