My Sister’s Earth Day
That it was Earth Day and still the leading
edges of an iceberg fell into the sea with a hiss,
the center showing pocked ice.
And the plane that had flown us home
parked, taxied, and flew again.
From a distance, the remote camera had an eye
in her death room. It was our way
of holding her, can you see it?
That a tree flowered outside her room—
planted for her daughter, blooming pink each year.
That it comes in waves—the crashing rain,
the pains in her head, the grief.
That after speech goes, still breathing, seeing
and listening might stay.
That to mention selling the house caused tears.
And each of us, that we are not the body,
exactly, and yet through the skin, eyes,
hair, we love.
That the clothes are not the person, nor objects,
books. Memory is the fixative.
There she moves. There she stops breathing.
Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. Author of four volumes of poetry, Patricia’s latest book is Sunday Rising. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, also appearing in The Atlantic, Gettysburg Review, Poetry, Slate, and Stand. Recent work appears (or is forthcoming) in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, North American Review, Plume, Prairie Schooner, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. Patricia was poet laureate of Grand Rapids from 2005-2007. Look for a new chapbook in late summer, Wreath for the Red Admiral.