So now it’s winter again yet
sunrise and sunset make us forget
so stunning the color spraying from ridges.
In the icy clear brittle blue air above,
the mountain greys like a grandmother,
death strolls close by—the mundane maudlin.
It would be fitting to go then.

But you left in summer
when sweet calves quivered on new legs,
peepers and lightning bugs surfaced at gloaming
supplying the soundtrack of summer.
The hay field was high green grace,
leaves reaching their full glory
bluebirds nesting, soft stems of new irises
waving in the wind’s parade.

Why then?
Why not wait until it would be easier to let go?
I think it was to carry the color with you
in the soul’s eye,
go out on top
in the highest of high notes
wearing the beauty shroud
to remind us all our last day
will be sudden and bright.

Rita Sims Quillen’s latest poetry collection, The Mad Farmer’s Wife, is forthcoming in fall 2016 from Texas Review Press. Quillen is the author of the novel Hiding Ezra, the chapbook Something Solid To Anchor To, the poetry collections Her Secret Dream, October Dusk, and Counting the Sums, and an essay collection Looking for Native Ground: Contemporary Appalachian Poetry. She lives and farms on Early Autumn Farm in Scott County, Virginia.

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Joyce Brown at 8:40 pm

    A lovely poem about loss and fatherhood. And daughterhood. The time of new life helps us bear loss. Somebody was looking for a crocus today. But the cycle and joy of life can be celebrated in a new calf, a father’s love death, his spirit choosing.

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