It is raining in Los Angeles. 31 years ago today, my Mom was buried. It rained that day as well.
Some years I feel the weight of these days on the anniversary of her death, some years I feel it more keenly on the anniversary of her burial. The night she died, everything was so quiet and I felt numb, lost. It was three days later, at the cemetery, that the noise of her absence filled the sky. I stared at her casket thinking how wrong it was that the wood was polished, shiny. Rain began to fall as they lowered her body into the ground. Sobs escaped my throat. My Dad had to hold me upright so I wouldn’t fall out of the chair. It was the day the breaking began to consume me.
I wrote this poem on the 25th anniversary of her burial.
Twenty- five years ago, I watched strangers
lower my mother’s body into the ground.
It was raining that day.
The soil swallowed up her oak and pink satin casket.
Not a place for a woman whose laugh lit up rooms,
whose touch soothed even the deepest aches.
My breath and heart plummeted into the hollow earth and
I broke into pieces that scattered in the rain.
For twenty- five years I have been collecting them.
*first published in Stepping Stones Magazine