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on the anniversary of your passing

instead of sorrow, i will mark the day
with ceremony, from the moment of waking
to the feel of my body’s curl under darkening
covers i will breathe ritual, so that even
coffee’s steam will recognize its incense,
offer grounding, so that even work will fall
into quiet rhythm. instead of tears
i will laugh at childhood’s inconsistencies,
your Napoleonic years marshaling children,
how i so feared you, in the seventies
disco, glam rock that washed out folk
birthed me into polyester and velour,
softening textures. instead of scrolling
through my phone to search
for videos of you, like an augur,
i will watch the sun expose beneath
autumn leaves bright berries,
and sense cold pierce my ungloved hands
as it did that day, as it did.
instead of prayer, i will proffer
the best of me to a stranger, a kindness
in a word you might have said, you said.
i will not speak to your image or the rime
of your tomb, its russet marble too
polished and too smooth for contact.
instead, i will light small candles,
festoon my house with lavender so that air
is cleansed, the future tinged with garden.
this vertigo of sadness like foliage fallen
from a tree instead of clinging will i relinquish
this daughter-name you gave to me
like a crumpled curbside page
wind-swept, the street cleared for ambulating

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