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.