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forget the tall man with the hat

who comforted you

the one who walked you

bay trail, car rides, fish market every day

snuggled your black pelt against his frame.

when he called

you always came.


his scent, his deep voice

and tender kiss, my little girl

forget, so the sting of his non-return is lost in your dreams

i am here now

to take over

step into his gigantic man shoes

walk you on familiar trails

see the world through his eyes

where he left us, not here but not forgotten

all the love he poured into you

i can reach out and touch

caress your coat, ease my own pain of the loss

and help you forget

the tall man with the hat who loved you.

Daniel Swetlik


saturday’s child

your eyes closed before your birthday

the candles and songs are not around sweet cake

but calls up to heaven to reach your locked gaze

your birthday will come again on a tuesday

a mark on a calendar

hands grip around empty air without you here

a date floating in time forever changed

for never again

will there be a tuesday in january

Polly Kearney, 1964 to 2013 Rest in Peace, longtime sister

Polly Kearney, 1964 to 2013
Rest in Peace, longtime sister


magenta designs upon my hands
swirl and weave up my wrists
the gold glitters heavy on my ears my neck
the bindi is properly placed
and i am ready to be dressed

i could not brace it
could not greet the heave upon me
of this fate-fulfilling ritual
without a piece of him with me
to shield me from the celebrating eyes

i wrap his scarf around my heart
around my ribs
against my belly
to help me face
this ceremonial union


43 years forward
and i cannot endure it
cannot bear to move through the doorway
for this final ritual without a piece of him with me
to fortify me, shield me
from the hands and the tears
of this fateful union come apart

his wedding scarf is wrapped around my heart
my ribs and belly
this is the only way i can brave
this disembarkment
this departure of moving on without him


they gently wrap my body in the purest white
i am shrouded in marigolds
and i am gently given
to the ganges river

Courtesy of Carmen Leon

he will slide up to me and say
your time has come

and i will say
oh shit
although i’ve been anticipating this day my whole life
now that it’s here i don’t feel ready

that’s how everyone feels
he would say
except for maybe a Buddhist monk who spends his whole life meditating.
sure, there’s an occasional person who is so ready they surrender entirely when their time comes, but it’s not typical
that’s why I carry this hook. People think it’s a sickle, but it’s not, it’s a hook.

don’t get me wrong, i would say. i’ve had a lot of fun here
but it’s been a mixed bag
somehow things just never added up for me here
like maybe i didn’t become who i was supposed to be, or something
maybe this crossing will be the missing link

he would smile that gentle smile and hold out his hand to me
and that would be
the end of my life

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