(written following the death of a young woman in a tragic boat accident last month, July, 2013,
on the Hudson River in Rockland County, New York)
Washed in rain too fierce and
blown by wind too brisk, she
flutters hesitant to sample once again a
bit of nectar from the blossoms on my deck;
two days ago, so bright, so vibrant in her daintiness,
but now her golden luster paled, her brilliant colors
dimmed, her wings in tattered disarray.
I grieve for this lone swallowtail, and know as she
takes cautious flight, she never will return.
Another, too, has disappeared;
a bride to be in merely days, she carefree
skimmed the Hudson with her friends;
her brilliant wings a-glow in shadows of the night,
she chatted, laughed, and teased her groom, her
worries blown away on river breeze—until,
colliding with construction barge, her happy boat
lurched sudden to a stop and tossed her to the
hungry waves, compelling her to walk the
aisle of death instead of wedding joy.
I did not know this lively sprite, but
grieve with those whose lives were
swallowed by her sudden vanishing.
So fragile all the beauty of our days;
it lifts, but wounds as well,
insists we hold life’s joys in fingers
open, curved to touch, but never grasp;
asks us to give those fingers eyes to
peer through gauze of winds and rains,
peer through the ragged jolts that sudden
slash across our days, peer through and through
to glimpse the larger hands that hold our spindly lives,
our all-too-early deaths; those larger hands with costly
scars that wait to sculpt anew the beauty broken,
strewn across our chipped and crumpled dreams.