Are There No Words by James Keane

Are There No Words

Her tiny coffin still
rests on wheels, easy
to gently push, too easy
to lift and carry
the rest of the way
to eternity. Words
from the altar still flutter
away in perpetuity,
unsettled by your
crying, and
crying, and
. . . . . . . .I, a witness
you would not notice
and never knew, alive
in the lifetime leukemia
denied your daughter
and you, survive
to wonder:
. . . . . . . .Did you ever
know laughter, the respite
it can bring; smile with patience
at children, or anyone
imploring you to
sing; find the words
that would not flutter
in futility when you
gave them up – or did your
crying, and
crying, and
never stop.

by James Keane, first published in Indiana Voice Journal.

Editor’s Note: The broken lines mirror the broken heart of the parent—loss doesn’t leave room for clean line breaks.


4 responses to “Are There No Words by James Keane”

  1. ajwal328 Avatar

    Jim, so hard to write it; harder to live it. Hope the writing helped. It moved me.

    1. James Keane Avatar
      James Keane

      Thank you, Alan. I hope against hope that the mother managed, ultimately, to live a happy life.

  2. Jim Gaynor Avatar
    Jim Gaynor

    Deeply moving

    1. James Keane Avatar
      James Keane

      Thank you very much, Jim.

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