My friend Nancy died last night after a long fight with cancer. This is for you, Nance.
A blue jay came to sit on my window sill
as my friend was dying.
Do birds take our spirits to heaven?
And as I ponder this
cardinals everywhere —
five of them dashing, splashing, in and out of the birdbath and the cherry tree.
The birds are full of life and chatter
though the cherries are long past.
Even leaves are gone,
fallen to the cold earth.
A gray rain falls — the first day of winter —
the whole world is crying silently dying,
I shake my fist at God.
I think of bright spirits and laughter and sunlight and time.
and when it comes upon us all, there is never enough time.
is all we had
and the future becomes the present unknown and unknowable
to us who are left with tears.
Lord, be merciful to my friend
who is journeying on a cardinal’s wing
a flash of red through a gray sky.
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. — Matthew 10: 29-31