white crane — poem


white crane

(for Linda)

It was after that I saw the bird

white wings flying in the updraft of the sky, clouds spinning

it seemed a thousand crows were in the sky that day

yesterday, your father’s tears mourners

your son standing alone high on the hill, heldback tears the strength


all I could do was put my hand on the back of a heart that heaved

the slow shuddering sobs

& in that wracking I remembered your ginger curls

& I thought you’d be laughing at what was spoken

somebody said you collected angels


how I knew you was in the broad expanse of your trustworthy hands

gum snapping surety, the browndoe strength of your eyes

you’d say to me, what does that word mean?

& then I’d try and explain by using a thousand metaphors

& you nodded patiently

the beauty you built in my abyss

each measured tile

I want you to know that I tried

looking into the wind, looking into the oaks

but I knew your soul was already gone, swept skyward


there is a way a white crane moves upon this earth

steps gingerly with tender footfall

there is a way between women sizing situations

& you never said a thing but you

stepped inside


I walked away down the mountain

thought of the wind lifting your hair

thought of the tiny buddha you’d given me once

thought of how much you knew of grace

not knowing words

but knowing interiors


I want you to know how much he cried at the loss of you

how, of anyone maybe he loved you best

how I knew as it welled up under my silent hand

how I couldn’t understand why the cell phones went ringing

there should have been silence


last time I saw you sturdy standing mixing plaster

wavering a little

I said take these oranges

& your doe eyes smiled

& then we said the kind of things women say to each other

like gossip over a fence

& then we hugged

& it was as if no time had passed at all


I didn’t know in two weeks you’d be gone like that

& your father

& your brothers

& the man next to me

& your son standing high on the hill of seventeen


I walked down the mountain and looked at the sea

& the clouds rushed over it was that kind of day

& there was this crane flying high

I knew that was you saying goodbye





3 thoughts on “white crane — poem

    1. Song thank you. Let’s talk soon? It was so sad Song. So sad. She worked for the contractor who is a friend — his best friend in the world for many years. Gone, overnight in her sleep. A year younger than I. I hope the poem did justice to her spirit. love, A.


      1. I find moments in words such as these –stilling and sad. My prayers to her family, best friend and you. I miss her and don’t even know her.
        You were blessed to see the White Crane.

        Yes. We’ll talk soon. Miss you.


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