Requiescat in pace

Old Dutch Church - Sleepy Hollow

Even I understand
the irony inherent in
my love for places like this,
especially since its an eternity
I don’t plan to partake in.

But I saw your name standing
so strongly beside hers and
it cut through me so deeply –
like the January wind on
this Sleepy Hollow hill,
and I knew I had to make
more sense of it somehow.

If I understand you,
I understand death.
If I understand how
carefully you stepped,
I can follow your path.
If I understand loss,
I can feel whole again.

The oldest paper I read
said your blood swam
from England over 200 years
before you even drew breath.

Your mother’s last name
makes the hair on the back
of my neck stand at attention,
because I give power and
respect to these things
and I always have.

You were born in a time
I do not understand
and gave the world
five sons, maybe six,
which is something I never
plan to do and it would
be easy to assume that
the woman who owns
the name forever linked
here to yours was just
doing her duty.

But I choose to believe
what I see right here
in front of me.

In life you claimed to be
lovely and pleasant and
(since I have no evidence
to the contrary) I will
believe that to be true.

You insisted,
that death
would not divide you
and proved it by
barely pausing to
straddle the doorway
between this world
and the next.

She went first,
which always
surprises me.
You soon followed,
which never does.

I’m not sure what it was
that called her from the earth
but my romantic’s heart beats
to the belief that your broken
heart called you back to her
as quickly as it could.

I understand now that
I want to write you a love story
but even more than that
I want to believe it to be true.
It’s for me more than
any recognition of you
but I think you know that.

I walk in reverence,
in recognition of the
silent, personal eternities
playing out under my feet –
and there is always a moment,
a monument that catches
my eye and makes me
catch my breath.

I think you saw me
standing there and
the love I believe in
may not be yours,
or even be real,
but you helped me
believe in it again
and I can never
repay you that kindness
no matter how many
eternities expire.

I’ll just be over here, whimpering and licking at ink stains on my fingers and scratches on my heart. God I’m exhausted.


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