sometimes we carry the song, sometimes others carry it for us

when i have said
we don’t know how to do death
i mean, mostly, as a larger culture, we really don’t
but today is an exception
how today is made of
many things that can break one’s heart
one of the first of which is sharon appearing
(before or after dennis’s shrouded body
is pulled along on the bike trailer, i don’t remember)
with that full and gorgeous
round and bursting
wreath of wildflowers
perched on her back bike rack
beginning the procession
(some on bike some on foot,
almost all with flowers in hand)
another of which is the song sounds
we make when we can
and sometimes the words
that come with them too
another is how sometimes sharon
bows into herself
hands to heart or mouth
and how every time i look
someone is there
at her side
another is the ripped openness of this day
of the hearts gathered around
the fabric-wrapped body
and the hand dug grave
and the closeness we are allowed to approach
this thin veil
between worlds
and the ways it comes and goes in waves
which means sometimes we carry the song
and sometimes others carry it for us
bikes first sharon calls out
and there we are pedaling
down the hill and through the woods
flower bouquet wrapped in my right hand wrapped
around the handlebars

sharon sharing one of dennis’s outgoing messages
that said something about cycling, recycling and the cycles of life
and how another was along the lines of

it’s a great day to bike
(regardless of the weather

or what kind of day it was)
he’s loving this she says
of the bikes
and the oak grove
and the people gathered on mullein hill

eva reading this poem outloud
while the light breeze lifts and falls
under the not sunny not grey sky
in the clearing on mullein hill
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rushOf quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.
-mary elizabeth frye
how for some
the lowering in of dennis’s body
seems to unearth something in them
and how, for others
it seems to ease/put something at rest

the not quite clunk and not thump either
but something like that
of the clumps of super-clay soil
we first toss in by the handful
and then by the bucketful
on top of the flowers and
sharon’s ring of hair
and wood, stone, feather and bone
how it feels good to sweat
in my nice-ish clothes, leveraging/lifting
shovel-ful after shovel-ful
of recently dug up earth
into 5 gallon buckets
how bear and i laugh about
how the weight of the clay clumps sometimes
dumps the bucket over
how the four or five or how many of us there are
shoveling sometimes sing along
with the songs and sometimes not
and how it feels good to be doing together
what dennis spent so much time doing
on robinia – laboring, flexing muscles,
connecting to others via work – how we laugh out there
on the clay pile
and how this work/motion
brings us back into ourselves
and somehow shows us that
things are going to be ok
not that they ever weren’t
and not that there won’t be
a long unspooling of grief
but just that
if we can lift these shovels
and work
and laugh
under humid july sun
we can keep on
i’ve got something for you i say
of the season’s second dahlia
to sharon and ask
if i can pin it on her

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
sharon reads one of the closing lines from
the Max Ehrmann poem titled Desiderata
that dennis once hung on his wall

the tree frog
as seen from its white belly and
sticky feet bottoms
splayed out on loft window
revealed upon curtain-opening
moon casting its glow behind
the sleep tremors (technically called hypnic jerk)
felt moving through paws and jaw and ears
against my left thigh


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