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For Murai

December 22, 2013

by Stephen Damon

Last night I attended a salon, celebrating the life of a woman with whom I spent a few hours on the day that she died at the hospice where I volunteer. Her friends and family told stories, sang songs, and read poems about her adventurous life. Everyone who spoke used the present tense because everyone felt that she was still there, however invisible. Some people shared signs that she “she hadn’t gone anywhere”—that she was still there. I was especially taken by a story that another hospice volunteer shared. She said that she had been told how much this woman loved raccoons and kept a stuffed one with her.  After the woman died, the volunteer went home only to find a raccoon waiting for her by her front door. I haven’t seen any “signs” but I do feel that she is very much alive in my memory—and my heart.

For Murai

It’s funny how things are—
We met just a few hours
Before your passing

From this world to the next.
But I remember how you
Smiled when I said I loved you.

Faraway fates, forever
Entwined. Two lives holding
A slender silk thread.

Now, I can only wonder
As I look at your paintings
Buddhas and nudes

A sunset over Pushkar
A Taj Mahal dream
And my favorite—Flamenco Fire.

And read your life story
A wide open expanse
Of colors and sounds.

A life fully realized
As a Zee Queen Bee
In Libya, London, and Rome

To name but a few
Of the places you lived
Before Bali’s Diamond Jubilee.



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