To A Sister
These are the things I want you to know.
There will always be a place in my imagination, where we can stand on the edge of everything, side by side, with the sky trailing out of us. There will be sleeping towns and green little hills, far below us, speckled with trees. The people in them are dreaming, always dreaming, in that one moment of time. It is nearly the hour when the dusk falls and the different voyages call out to us. We will have a campfire and a map, and we will keep our heads together, to chart courses, to plot the possibilities, and to notice in the way that so few have noticed, the outline of what is and what might be.
There will be starlings above us, turning their wings to the sunset, and dancing, just as we have danced so often. Even through the pain that stays, like a thoughtless house guest, reading the newspaper lazily, with his feet on the table of our lives.
There are not many people I have cried as sincerely with, as I have laughed. Not many I have trusted with any secret, and every happening. Not many who have found, as well as the door to my heart, and the whole room beyond it, a way to leave something behind them even when we parted, as suddenly as strangers. You have left tea, still in the pot. You have left flowers, climbing the trellis in the garden we planted ourselves. You have left friendship like a silver framed mirror on my wall. You have left unexpected mud, too, all over the old stone floor and even as I mop and brush and polish, and lament the task, I miss you.
I think of sanctuary bells and exiles, and how we have offered them both to each other. I think of the shape of the world, and the holding of some small part of it in our hands, trying to change it. Trying to make it kinder, more practical, more decent. Hoping others are doing the same. I am glad we did our work together. Lending each other needle and thread, or telescope, as needed.
Our friendship was purpose and faith, at least as much as it was feeling.
We belong to the same river. We are two winding streams, flowing out of it. I take my own, and you take yours.
I believe we can make sails out of bedsheets and stars out of the light we find in other people, and we will nurture life itself, from the soil and the burrow, with the patience we have promised.
I have cradled dead sunflowers, and let their purple mourning stain me, but found their beauty undiminished. This is how I am certain, that the loss of something, or the way of our losing, does not have to break its glory.
Most of all, what I want you to know is that every good thought of you I have ever had is still with me. I send them to you, now, like morning mist, or summer zephyr, to wrap themselves around you softly and unseen. To offer silent comfort and protection.
So that I am with you, gently, just as you will be with me.