Published: July 28th, 2015
A former university instructor, Lisa Wersal is now a writer, musician, and quilter. Her previous work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Art Times Journal, SageWoman, Crone Magazine, the Phoenix Spirit, Bellowing Ark, Minnesota Women’s Press, Ars Lyrica, and the Minneapolis StarTribune.
A cloudburst –
of course; it always rains for funerals.
Frozen at the bedroom window,
blurred images of umbrellas with legs, darting around below.
Rain pooling in hurried footsteps,
delivering a parade of food for the shiva: salmon pâté,
lox with cream cheese, mousaka, spanakopita…
They want to make sure you eat.
But I can barely breathe.
My torso aches from our tug-of-war:
he, proceeding ever deeper into agitation and despair;
me, efforting, bartering, cajoling…
urging him back from the edge.
I’ve come up short,
and I’m stuck mid-breath, in suspended animation,
as if someone hit the “pause” button.
Must find air.
Lift the latch, swing wide the window,
heaven-sent droplets splash the sill, the parquet floor.
How I’d like to stop it – all of it – the commotion, the whispering voices,
forced conversations, scrutinizing eyes, moist, grasping hands…
But I’m no good at stopping…anyone.
Icy waters pelt my face, trickle down my neck,
stinging, yet healing. Strange refreshment for the soul.
My mind fights to keep on track. What to wear?
My favorite embroidered maroon
blouse and woven, fitted skirt.
Pull on my cashmere sweater – soft!
What light through yonder window breaks?
Same outfit I wore on our first date, when Shakespeare
set the stage for our own love story.
My final accoutrement, the gold locket he had inscribed:
“Lisa-mu (my Lisa) e-ne o-mor-fe ke ex-ep-ne.”
In phonetics because he never learned to write
in Greek, but knew his exotic native tongue
made me melt.
Readings, Blessings, Eulogies.
There are no words, but they make attempts:
“Such a loss.”
“Gone too soon.”
“He’s at peace now…in a better place.”
As if they knew his mind,
As if they knew my heart.