When I die, I’ll miss July –
dragging the old white comforter outside
to the back deck to make love
after the kids are asleep.
And I’ll miss these backyards
that bleed together, aglow with fireflies
and night lanterns.
I’ll miss living in a little neighborhood
where everyone pitches in and camps out.
When I die, I’ll miss those moments
when I knew what was true.
I’ll miss the light, smoldering blue-black sky
against neon summer green,
or the early mornings
when the clouds caress
mountain silhouettes, the way this morning
as my daughters slept
on either side of me,
the thin, tattered quilt that was my mother’s
bunched up around our shoulders,
I wanted to stay there,
soften their edges
hang around their ridges,
protect them from whatever storms
might come later.
When I die, I’ll miss swimming
in clean, clear fresh water,
its gentle hold
as I pull and push and move myself forward
then spread open to float
under summer sky,
the sun like a compass,
heart thumping, body resting.
I’ll miss the way the way the car smells
on a hot day
when there is a brown bag
of freshly ground coffee beans in the trunk.
When I die, I’ll write little messages for you.
Look for them
on maple leaves, on stretches of beach,
black, broken shale.
Look for me in the compost heap
and in the rush of a cold creek on the Long Trail.
Listen for me when it rains
and you’re wishing for sun,
when it’s hot and you’re longing to cool off,
when your body is so bitter and cold
you lose hope of warming.
I’ll get to you somehow to tell you
what I miss most about living:
Stop looking at what is undone,
what you haven’t accomplished,
where you’ve fallen short.
Your shame, all those moments
when you wanted to hide,
to disappear, to retract and retreat –
these are your gifts.
Look inside. Don’t run.
You will find me here,
find yourself here, exposed,
clear as moonstone
letting the light through.
Don’t miss this, I’ll whisper.
Don’t miss this.