by Jeannie Prinsen

No one tells you in advance if your mom
should wear shoes in her casket. To be safe,
you pick ones that go with that blue and white
dress she wore on her and dad’s fortieth,
when laughter swelled and final things seemed as
far off and improbable as the stars.

No one tells you that when it’s time for you
to leave, you’ll need to wake her for good-bye,
that you’ll be the only one who will speak
words like I’ll see you on the other side,
while all she can do is gaze her love, eyes
bright with everything that lingers unvoiced.

No one tells you, when your plane lifts off and
the galaxy of lights spreads out below,
that you’ll think of her earth-leaving too:
her eyes stars, her words a bright nebula
of joy against the deepest-blue sky, her
feet bare, dancing on the holiest ground.

— from Juniper Volume 3, Issue 1