This poem came to me on a November afternoon eight years ago, six years after Chan’s death. Grief is a slow process. Don’t let anyone rush you.
The other day I was driving down
a little street in the neighborhood,
a shortcut, I thought, in my endless quest
to save a minute or two for something.
I don’t know what.
And I saw a tree standing
branches upraised, entirely bare.
At its base in a spreading circle lay its cloak of yellow
like a woman’s garment dropped suddenly
that floated too fast to the floor.
The leaves, bright and soft,
were hopelessly disconnected from their
mother, now naked, bereft.
In the rushing frantic kids-to-pick-up moment
when I saw that tree
That’s how I felt when my son died.
Where is the warmth and beauty that I always had
where the wind whispered and the light shimmered
where the tiny infinite movements against my
skin interpreted the air and darkness?
now I am only bare and bony
bark wet and cold
in the wind and rain
Why am I still standing with
all of me exposed
and winter coming?
Catharine H. Murray, Author of Now You See the Sky