Sunday, May 1, 2011

For my late aunt

Whenever I see a wine bottle with a past year printed on it, I feel as if the year itself is contained within that bottle. If it says 2005, I feel like it's still the year 2005 within the confines of the glass. When the bottle is uncorked, the old year spills out along with the wine and the past converges with the present.

I was reminded of this at my grandparents' house yesterday. My late aunt Mary took a glass-blowing class at college, and she had made some beautiful glass balls. I found one in her old bedroom, and thought of the bubble inside it. It contains air that she once breathed; air from the time in which she formed it. That moment was frozen inside the bubble. The ball contains a moment in which she was alive.

Every few years, I write a poem for Mary. This is the one I wrote today.


I hold the air you once exhaled
In a glass ball
Crafted with more care than hands could grasp.
The orb embraces your breath.

A drifting bubble held your world,
But still intact.
The winds spread you out,
Carrying the whisper of your ashes.

You are no longer at the mercy
Of capricious breeze.
You could never be buried in body or spirit.
Your footprints cannot fade.
Ground grows fertile where you walked.
Colors and music bloom in your steps,
Watered by memories.

No element could divide us.
Fire burns away the barrier,
Leaving more ashes in its wake.
My scorching grief is quenched
By the flow of your gentle words.

I write you letters in the sands of time
Messages delivered by tides
Sweeping your words back to me,
Washing away regret.
I swim in our shared inspiration.

A bubble slowly ascends.
It's swayed by neither wind nor waves
Not fragile like your glass,
More steadfast than the earth.
It holds your world
Full as a mind pregnant with ideas.
It rises
A new circle
Endless as your love.

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