Kneeling at the Grave Stone
by Tony Daly
Not outside, but inside.
It’s actually quite nice out, if
A person can see that sort of thing,
The world, outside of oneself.
I can’t. I’m clouded and overcast.
Have been for over forty years, today.
There was a time when everyday was shining.
Then the lake effect snow came, buried me.
For years I tried digging out.
Now, many days are bright,
but never this day.
The memory crushes me, every time.
You were light in my arms,
The shining star at the center of my universe,
The tiniest creature I could imagine.
You cooed and gurgled, and just
Absorbed me with those yellow-blue eyes.
I held you tight against exposed skin, and
Will never forget the feel of your warmth,
Your wet tears, your talon-like nails,
Your screams of hunger and agony.
I started crying when the nurse came in with
Empty arms apologetically outstretched
– and haven’t stopped.
I knew your light for 20 hours, but
only touched you for one.
You’ve held me ever since.
These carnations, are for you.
I bring them every year.
I like to think they would be your favorite, but
Mainly they became a tradition.
Couldn’t afford better the first years, and
I’ve imagined pinning them to your chest at
Proms, graduations, wedding.
Instead, I kneel here, like every year,
Until after the sun goes down,
With your father’s hand on my back, and
Fill you in on your brothers’ lives.
You’d love them, and they you,
If they’d meet you, and you them,
But you didn’t and they didn’t.
They know you through my suffering, and
Are the reasons I’ve not yet joined you.
My three wondrous lights,
Illuminating my darkness.
But clouds return, darkness endures.
How many nights have I smelled your newborn hair,
Felt your loving arms around my neck, only
To be pulled back by those who need me in life?
One of these days, when my work is done,
My storm will finally subside,
I will lay down beside you, my child,
And hold you once more, everyday.
Together, we will illuminate our darkness.
Process notes: My older brother lived for only a day. My mother leaves flowers on his gravestone every year. This poem is my attempt at exploring her emotions, and takes it a few steps further.
Tony Daly is a DC/Metro Area creative writer. His work is forthcoming in anthologies from Wolfsinger Publications and Fantasia Divinity Magazine, as well as online at Pilcrow & Dagger, Boned-A Collection of Skeletal Writing, and The HorrorZine. He serves as an Associate Editor with Military Experience and the Arts. For links to his published work, visit https://aldaly13.wixsite.com/website