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The Poetry Of..
Kenneth P. Gurney..........................


"It is love that takes me here."
Ellie repeats to herself for a ninth time

to the silence of a plain silver urn
that holds his silent ashes

on her way up the slight trail,
barely discernible under the snow.

Her boots create the first impression
of the day, alongside the stream

she knows by rote to be under,
and occasionally peeking through,

the soft white penetrated by
the icy drips from far above branches.

Ellie prefers the urn on her bed stand,
but the dead have rights (right?)

and under her covers she feels too keenly
the weight of an unlikely indebtedness

to fulfill the last request written over a year ago
on the final bar napkin his pen touched

before the first round of chemo, the surgery,
and all the little degradations of the body

that collected over the last twelve months.
She reaches the large rock where he liked

to sit for a first break, where his dog
liked to splash in the creek

under the tree fallen long ago and now
is home to mosses and all the boring bugs.

Here at the low end of the meadow
of a thousand butterflies in September

she tips the urn and shakes it broadly,
then watches the sun heat the blackness,

until it disappears within the snow.


The ground is a lovely place for resting,
either below it or on its surface,
but our bodies are designed for motion
and all the tricks that can be played
by placing one foot in front of the other.

Delphi's imagination leads her feet
to climb into the night toward the moon.
She uses this journey to look back,
reflectively, at her long silences
and brief bursts of words.

She uses this journey to restock her pockets
with dreams the stars dangle like fruit,
to think of things that have never been
or, maybe, are forming at the edge
of the universe by her very thought.

Then she falls back from the moon,
burns brightly in the atmosphere
to remind her of the warmth of people.
Delphi sings and tells stories,
uses them as a mop to soak up
all the grief strewn tears
before they form into a slick of ice
in the chill of so many people's words.


Dolphins swim out to sea
from the harbor and we follow,
prisoners of falling back
into childhood desires,
in spite of sharks,
in spite of broad night
over deep waters.

Some of us know the salt
burns in open wounds,
but go anyway, go
to get away from a place
too far inland to hear
the music of the tide
play upon the shore
or how the gulls' cry
catches hold of the heart
like a song that names
an ache that explains
eyes greyed over
in a fine mist.

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