It is love and sensing the departed is present
somewhere between being able to be
reached or not. Neither alive nor dead.
It is searching, hopefully, for him,
in the pew he used to choose, mid-way
between altar and exit. It is listening
on All Souls’ Day to Mozart’s Requiem
while writing the deceased’s name
on one of the small, pink envelopes provided
and sent up to the priest who’ll pass his hands
over the basket making magic, making all
who are away know the living still pay them
attention and oh and oh and oh and oh. Voca me!
It is leaving, walking down the mountainous
row of concrete steps and turning to look
back at the church on a mild November evening.
It is knowing the other, the Away one, was
there, unseen, and, as ever, is waiting. It is pretending.
Sharon Chmielarz has had poems published in many literary magazines; she’s had three children’s picture books published; and her travel memoirs have been included in several anthologies. She has been awarded a Jerome Foundation fellowship and Minnesota State Arts Board and Region 2 grants. Her work has been a finalist in the National Poetry Series, nominated for a Pushcart Prize five times, and has been translated into French and Polish. She served as readings coordinator for SASE at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts. Her poem The Other Mozart has been made into a two-part opera. Her most recent books of poetry are Calling, from Loonfeather Press, and The Sky is Great, The Sky is Blue, from Whistling Shade Press.