Remembering Nancy

God in His field is what Grammy says Amen
Nancy Topf born on Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn Amen
Sunflower bigger than my face or hers thrown in the Hudson Amen
Nancy Topf extolling the virtues of brown rice to my friends Amen
Nancy Topf practicing Tai Chi by the river Amen
Nancy Topf breathing in the Vermont woods Amen
Nancy Topf swimming laps in the YMCA pool Amen
Organic vegetables delivered weekly in boxes Amen
Yaffa wearing fishnets to walk her dalmations Amen
Tribeca alley where Belafonte danced Day-O Amen
Nancy Topf-Gibson of Eight Harrison Street Amen
Nancy Topf excited about the sale at Macy’s Amen
Shock clenching Jon’s head in a vice Amen
God help us through this without her Amen

Last ten minutes of her life plunging downward Amen
Jeremy watching TV at a friend’s house Amen
Grief – a tsunami in Tucson, Arizona Amen
The hands of love on my face and feet Amen
My mother weeping in my arms Amen
My father quoting from The Tempest Amen
Nancy Topf teacher healer artist Aunt Nancy Amen
Circle of love sisters brothers aunts uncles Amen
Greg – such a blessing thank you Universe Amen
Peggy Topf allowed to be weak We’ll hold you up Mom Amen
Jon Gibson allowed to be weak We’ll hold you up Jon Amen
Jeremy Gibson allowed to be weak We’ll hold you up Jere Amen
Celia Renner Topf Straus the Matriarch holding us all up Amen
Nancy Topf with the Creator in Heaven Amen
Nancy Topf with the ancestors in Heaven Amen
Nancy Topf in shock with 228 other souls God in peace Amen
In the seismic tumbling from the sky Amen
In the moment of terror when Fire makes contact with Ocean Amen

In loving memory of Nancy Topf, October 29, 1942 – September 2, 1998

and the other passengers on SwissAir #111

This poem originally appeared in the Winter/Spring ’99 issue of Contact Quarterly
Volume 24, Number 1

Photo credit: Jon Gibson’s archives

10 thoughts on “Remembering Nancy

  1. Emily Klainberg says:

    Thanks Jena.
    Brought back a wave of memories. I was Nancy’s twin. She always called me ‘my twinny’.
    Tears dripping on computer.


  2. laura ríos says:

    I think about the shadow that supports what is visible, and remember her words: when something is hanging, is because something else is supporting.

    Nancy`s wisdom and lovely spirit still supports us, our searching, expansion, spirit and dancing… remembering Nancy with love.

    A big hug for jeremy, jon and all her family, friends, students and the tribe created around her wisdom.

    laura rìos
    from mexico.



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