Of Sorrow and Coming Death

Every bent figure at the train station,
every elderly woman pushing a grocery

cart; every gray-haired man sitting
on a porch with his newspaper: each

reminds us of the people in our lives
who will one day, sooner or later, pass

from this life. My husband and his siblings
lost first their father and then their mother:

two years apart, not even recovered from
the first grief, and they're going through

the same rituals. It only feels the same,
but everything is new again. And no one and

nothing is forgotten. Also, we're being moved
closer to the front of the line. Months

or years of bracing for the moment, and then
it's there, with or without fanfare. But I

envy them a little their closeness
and faith: how each made of their parents'

last moments a composition of the tenderest
affections, while I cannot say if or how I

could answer the call of the dead, out of
an estranged continent, when it comes.

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