Holding Her Lamp, I, too,
–with gratitude to Eva Dűrrenfeld
A chance encounter. Curiously
turning pages, suddenly shaking,
caught and pulled
through a worm-hole. Like lightening,
ineffable recognition struck my heart:
Not bitter enough tastes the almond.
A small-town high-school teacher,
unmarried, childless, grave unknown,
left behind an Aladdin’s lamp: her slim volume
languished for years on my shelf,
until, during dusting, accidentally
knocked over, it fell
open. Her genie woke, dislodged
the stone of doubt, invited me
to descend into the secret
chamber, pluck and bring back
through her “Rents in the Air”
golden plums and moon-touched pears.
Garden of Remembrance
“If it is allowed…,” her voice trailed off.
“Of course,” my eyes moist,
I sounded firmer than I intended.
My sister took her tablet, touched the screen,
showed pictures of the Rhone valley: a hummock,
crowned by a small limestone chapel,
the magnificent view from its attached cemetery,
and a plaque, surrounded by blossoms,
reading “Jardin de Souvenir.”
“There, I’d like my ashes spread.
So you all can come and visit me
whenever you want.”
I nodded, waited for more. But nothing
else was to come.
Of course, I wanted to attend her funeral.
But my brother-in-law, after taking care of house guests
for many months, followed the example she had set
many years ago after the burial of our mother;
my sister left us, her siblings, in the restaurant, to be
with just her own family. Now her husband and sons
forewent a gathering, cherished her remains
in utter intimacy.
In response, on the same day, but on the other end
of the world, we offered our own last service:
we robbed the red rose of all its petals,
stripped the evening primrose of its golden gowns,
and one-by-one picked borage’s blue stars.
Then, in the fallow part of the garden, in the brilliant morning light,
singing “Fly away,..” we tendered our treasure to the wind…
In Memory of Mr. Mo
He, who could never be hurried
across a threshold, would rush towards me,
purring loudly, whenever I returned.
One night, injured, he dragged himself
through the cat door into the garage,
called us out of our sleep.
I cradled him on the drive to the vet.
Again and again we tried, but nothing
could undo the paralysis.
Slowed down, he still commanded
two serviceable legs, continued to contest
the puppy’s encroachments into his space.
After years, his muscles withered,
his fur turned shaggy,
his appetite waned.
When the servant of release arrived,
he sat up, looked her straight in the eye,
as if greeting an angel.
Then he snuggled into my arm,
consented to be gently eased
from here to there.
Brigitte Goetze lives in Western Oregon. A retired biologist and angora goat farmer, she now divides her time between writing and fiber works. She finds inspiration for both endeavors in nature as well as the stories and patterns handed down from generation to generation, eavesdropping into the never-ending conversation between the biological and spiritual dimensions of life. Her words have been published by Calyx, Oregon Humanities and in anthologies. Her website can be found at: brigittegoetzewriter.com.