Poet’s comment: “This poem was written shortly after the death of a very dear friend. I wrote a series of poems in order to come to terms with his absence, and to honor his memory.”
One More Hour
I believe in the power of revision.
I write you until I get you right:
your eyes squinting against the sharp
September sunlight, newly born.
You brush the leaves
from the sleeves of your sweater,
listen as a plane from the naval base
breaks the sky’s perfect blue,
scratch your neck, your face
is more than I remembered.
I want them all to be wrong,
the naysayers who doubt
my devotion to the process,
who say the dead are dead for good,
cordon them off in some quiet
corner of heaven where they won’t stay put.
It’s autumn and the trees drop their leaves
carelessly on the backs of the living
smothering the perennial grass
as though it were only a matter of time.
We spend our days raking back
to find what green is left, revising
the lawn into late afternoon. I pass
you a rake, too, since I’ve brought you to life
and what does it matter how we living
pass our time? It’s all the same,
one more hour in the sunlight, pulling
back the piles until our backs give out,
raking and raking as though
there were any other possible ending.
Holly Karapetkova’s poems, prose, and translations have appeared recently in the “Delmarva Review,” “The Southern Review,” “Blackbird,” “Tupelo Quarterly,” and many other places. She is the author of two books of poetry, most recently “Towline,” winner of the Vern Rutsala Poetry Prize. She teaches at Marymount University in Arlington, VA.
“Delmarva Review” is available in print from Amazon.com and Mystery Loves Company, in Oxford. The independent literary journal, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, publishes the best of original new poetry, nonfiction, and fiction selected from thousands of submissions annually. The publication is partially supported by a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. For more information see the website: DelmarvaReview.org.