Poems by FrancEyE

Here is a poem FrancEyE wrote in 2004 after the abrupt death of her 46-year-old daughter, Skye.

COUNTING

When I was 35, my husband said

"Well, Fran, you're half-way there."

What could he have meant? But though

we didn't subscribe to the bible

what he meant was

3 score and 10 are the years we expect.

He lived 6 extra and I've lived 12 so far

so we owe this daughter

dead at 46

(or I owe her

since he can no longer pay)

6.

I owe her 6.

I may die still in debt. She wants me

to go on. I'll try,

but living this way, living with her gone,

is not quite living. I can grieve, though,

grieve,

for as long as she wants.

PARTICULATE MATTER

Even at noon, so empty and blue

the sky, an ocean of air to walk in, breathe, and rejoice,

at its fringes over the mountains, over the bay,

paled to gray-white.

I'd look away, not wanting to remember

that baby nearly 40 years ago, a beautiful gift from the blue

with the sky in her eyes

looking back at me when other mothers said

they were moving out of L.A.,

moving right away,

because their doctors told them

staying here would shorten

their babies' lives.

I didn't move away.

She did move finally

off to the whole world's breast-cancer capital.

Who knows

if her life will be shorter?

I think of it though whenever I hear her cough,

and of course as the other mothers

moved their babies away,

the smog moved too;

it didn't leave, it just spread over land and sea

so wherever they are, the air

there now is what it was here, then.

And here I am. I'm glad

I didn't come here to breathe

or to lengthen my children's lives

delightful though those pleasures are;

I came here to use my voice,

to sing,

to get it all down,

and I'm doing it the best I can

and now

as the sun's going down and that gray-white's turned to brown

and the great cerulean dome has darkened to dinge,

I'm still walking, and I still

rejoice.

Courtesy Marina Bukowski Zavala

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