I was far too young, to appreciate who you were.

Too little to recognize your grace, memorize

the way you curled your hair.

To hold on to the specific things you said to me.

I was too wrapped up in myself,

too small to know you as a real person,

and to see that you were a little bit broken just like everybody else.

 

I cried when we went back to the house for the last time.

I walked through the halls sobbing,

even though you hadn’t been there for almost a decade.

This was letting go of the last piece of you that was tangible.

I allowed the grown up me to mourn you in a way I hadn’t understood

when I first had my chance.

 

I do have memories of you,

busy in the vast kitchen centered around the island,

where I sat drinking warm coke from the pantry

because I was too impatient to put it in the fridge.

I recall the smell of White Linen, and cigarette smoke.

Your favorite song (Sondheim) playing in the living room.

The gargoyles in the front yard and the heavy brass knocker on the door.

A piece of jewelry, easily given as you got ready one morning, now always in a safe place.

 

You are not completely lost to me,

I still know the feeling of having been close to someone

with the cooking skills of Julia Child

and the class of Audrey Hepburn.

Christmas and bird baths and cats make me think of you.

In my mind you are standing in the doorway waving goodbye and blowing kisses.

Won’t you please stay until we’re out of sight?

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