Family Life, Published

Eulogy for My Parents

But not for bodies, not for souls set free,
but rather expectations: who they were
in childhood’s pure perspectives, once so sure,
now clearing in the eyes of older me.

Revealed is just how much there is to grieve—
tight tangled knots of history and loss,
the weight of every carried splintered cross,
the slipping grip on what it means to cleave—

it’s just too much. What more could I expect
from two imperfect souls who took a chance?
A lot apparently, but circumstance
has now dispelled that gleaming dream effect.

So, dead is that fictitious pair
who, flawless, fell in love and stayed that way.
And yet, with grief comes some relief to say,
approaching who’s in flesh left standing there,

It’s nice to meet you, really meet you, Dad.
and Hello, to every diamond face of Mom.
A funeral with no one to embalm,
but space to love the ones I’ve always had.

Winner of the Dr. Linda Veldheer Memorial Prize in the Poetry Society of South Carolina 2023 Spring Forum contests.
Originally published in the 2023 Poetry Society of South Carolina Yearbook.