One Year Ago Today: Memorial

our closets no longer full of mourning clothes
we instead honor our dead on printed tees
car decals
tattoo our losses on tender skin
create public memorials with
bouquets of flowers
quilt squares
framed photographs
stuffed animals
too many lost
far too young

I would ink the names of my dead
on my forearms in black
but the list is too long to fit
not all the lights extinguished
bestowed the honorific
I suppose Dot has a certain gallows humor
certainly more poetic than
ball-of-cells-that-my- body-deemed-too-flawed-for-survival
and expelled in a bloody rush

what does it mean to be a motherless child
when you over 18?
are you still a father when you have never held
your living child?
do you stop being a sister
when you are last one left standing?
I find my native tongue inadequate
to speak the true language of loss
where parts of identity break off
from our continent
drift off in crimson tides.

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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