For Narni: A Poem

Sometimes the news of a loved one passing isn’t a surprise.  But death always renders you breathless for a moment.  I received the news yesterday, that my great aunt passed peacefully.  I knew, when I saw my mother’s name on my phone that this was the news she was delivering to me.

It is in these moments when I question my decision to be on the other side of the world.  The distance become vast, connection seems inaccessible.

My great aunt wasn’t just great because of lineage, she was a really Great soul in the world – everyone knew that.  She was honest and real and funny as hell.  A significant chunk of my childhood was spent at her house on the lake, with my 2nd cousins.  Those moments sit in my life story as safe places.

I can’t be home for her funeral and last night I was struck by the need to memorialize her.  Words kept me awake at night, reminding me.



The music lulls
when one is called away.
When it is heard I stop, skip a breath
and then reach for a deeper one.


A note dropped in my life song.


The beauty of memory is access,
but to recall means we have to reach out
with nothing to hold.
Now memory is all we have.


Nostalgia creeps in and pushes forth tears.
I suddenly feel the safety of my childhood
and how invested in you it was.
We grow and form our life, but we never forget who forms us.


A childhood of summers by the lake,
gangly kids rolling sideways down the hill
hide-n-seek in the yard.
A lost tooth by the tarzan rope
Golden Syrup Dumplings.


Happiness was in your home.
Home was in your happiness.


My chest is weighted as I
only remember your smile, your raspy laugh
and dry humor – slow to land when you’re 10 years old,
brilliant and sharp when you’re 34.


But your love landed in an instant.


I sit on different soil, miles away from family
but love doesn’t track distance, nor does sorrow
Love only loves and sorrow only reminds us how much
we can love.


How much you did Love.


On the other side,
Rest now in the arms that were always meant to hold you.
You held out yours for so long,
and I sit, head bowed, heart lifted
In gratitude.

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