No More

/ /

……………….for Michelle Slater


Only the fall of the lid Reveals the tale there hid. ……………….—George Sterling


It starts with a negative call, some message sent to ear, perhaps to eye, some hint of a voice that’s quietly missing, the dwindling echo of some “I”.

It ends with a crushing sense of wonder at the clearest edge of awe’s despair, where absence simply swallows thunder, where what was, once, is no more there.


sudden is a teacher and a thief

of all the flagrant traces of my grief


The date, the hour you fall mute re-focuses our shared suspicions, so a delegate is sent to snoop, to ring, to knock, to demand admission.

And all of us who are miles away, who are mindful, yes, though not afraid (not yet, the dark still held at bay) are shocked, at last, to hear it said,

aloud, that you are there—but dead, just sitting, sitting on your couch. In quiet loss? In anguished dread? The cold hard fact dissolves in doubt.


voiceless grows my preacher of relief

un-muscled my embrace’s falling leaf


Fleet witness, all detail forbidden, distraught, denied the rite of entry, our emissary marks you ‘hidden’— inhibited by law’s stern sentry

from deepened living’s last long look. No face, no voice. No mind. No more—. Your life, an ever-opening book. Your death, a brusquely closing door.


vanish full-selved creature all too brief

abandon these bright places of belief