Mere Reflections of Dust
by Marilyn Braendeholm
It’s time. We open lace-frosted windows.
We shake memories from your duvet.
We straighten and pinch pleats into curtains.
We brush away bits of you flaked to dust,
but we leave your shoes paired and lined
as neatly moored boats in the closet.
And three bullfinches watch us, closeting
away their want to flight. Spiegelled to windows,
sat there on lichen-crusted branches, lined-
up like clothes pegs, feathers fluffed into duvets
against December’s chill. Their songs as light as dust.
Long frills of song that silt through closed curtains.
Forever I’ll think of winter smoky smells curling in curtains,
a rush of summer scents at the church doors. Priestly closets
of ritual water, lit wax tapers, and prayers. Roses that dust
cold stone aisles. You tucked up in heaven, our hearts windows
opened to every changeable storm as cold winter sun lines
crosses from lead panes. Shadowy clouds of tumbling duvets.
Forever I’ll remember summer winds and spinnaker duvet-
soft sails filled with holidays. The boat’s lip drinking curtains
of sea, tipped like a chalice filling with blind joy and lined
with the twinkle of your eye. These. Locked away. Closeted.
Protected where air won’t dilute our memories. A window
where we see you, recalling more than today’s sparkling dust.
Forever I’ll remember your hands mending dry walls. Stone dust
dancing with your smile that spilled into a laugh, soft as a duvet
and just as light. You watching weather passing by the window,
your shadow lingers on the floor, your fingers still curl the curtains
and a brown spiced scent spills through my thoughts from your closet.
Our safe harbour. A sanctuary of memories. We’re anchored and lined.
This morning we woke. Your shirts and shoes tidy. In line.
Your old gold watch and bedside clock wound. Dusted.
A hanger keeps your wedding suit of 60-years ago. Closeted.
The past holds our cherished memories — suddenly your duvet
swirls dizzying scents of you as I open your bedroom curtains that
still curl where your fingers held them open against the window.
Your cologne lines your closet with a lifetime of rich memories.
A bright scent freshened by an open window and sun-filled curtains.
I shake your duvet, dust sprinkled with sunshine. I’m filled with you.
Marilyn’s process notes:
This poem (a sestina) was written while my father-in-law was in hospital with pneumonia. He passed away on 6 December 2012 in Denmark. Rest in peace, Far.
Marilyn Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, a Springer Spaniel, and a small camera that she keeps in her pocket. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work has found homes with Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Mouse Tales Press, Four & Twenty, Fib Review, Sprout Magazine, Camel Saloon, Jellyfish Whispers, Red Wolf and several international anthologies.
Marilyn blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.