I walk down the path to your house, my feet tapping
a 4/4 rhythm. The sound says goodbye.
I don’t want to hear that melody. I want you to heal,
your voice to accompany mine as we grow old together.
I stop at the end of the sidewalk. Like Lot’s wife, I turn. Your window
is dark. You lie inside, all best friend without a working liver
growing quieter and slower. Soon you will leave the orchestra.
I will be alone, my life’s chorus depleted.
It’s hard to keep focused. I want to sing a sad solo.
Others are also affected by your death and life. I hear
the rustling of leaves. The tree next to me will be here
next week, but you probably won’t.
I get in the car. I’ll stay overnight at a friend’s
whose religion tells us rejoice, you’re just shy of heaven.
I can’t mouth that tune. I would ask your opinion
but you are busy with a different threnody.
How will I keep singing by myself?
Your house recedes in the rear-view mirror, its music replaced
by the hum of the car, the swell of traffic
the changing orchestration
of life from here on out.
by Korie Beth Brown
Editor’s Note: This lament threads nostalgia and grief together into one song because letting go of a loved one is neither easy nor simple.