“The morning after death” by Jeanette Willert

           The sweeping up the heart,
           And putting love away
           We shall not want to use again
           Until eternity.

                —Emily Dickinson

You wonder, don’t you, why the sun rises
yet again, when your world is upside-down?
Yes, there was a “bustle In the house” this morning,
and death did come calling some hours before.

But, as to the “bustle”, vital to
placing us, the living, back into the natural
flow. Natural as in… nature, human nature,
the nature of life from birth to death:
nature as in day and night, the turn
of seasons, the certainty of stars.

We “bustle” not in denial, but affirmation,
not in disrespect but affiliation.
We, too, will be dead, but in the future…
but certainly dead as our forebears,
their stories now dead with them.

The earth goes on, morning bursts
beyond the stand of pines across the lake,
and evening descends like a filmy drape
over those same pliant pines.

Last night, a full moon cast light
across the lake, like a lady
laying a long white glove
atop a glass table.

I think of you;
I think of tomorrow.
I think of when no one
will remember us
and that must be okay.

Jeanette Willert was an Associate Professor of English Education at Canisius College and Director of the Western New York Writing Project. A recent Vice-President of the Alabama State Poetry Society, she was honored as their 2018 Poet of the Year. Her chapbook Appalachia, Amour won the Morris Chapbook Award (2017), Her poems have appeared in Goat’s MilkWINK, Libretto, Crosswinds Poetry Journal and the 2020 Anthology of Appalachian Writers. Her first poetry book will be published by Negative Capability Press this year.

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