Betsy Holleman Burke
A warm December day, thousands
of geese wait on the pond. Hundreds
of cattle wait on the hillside. A dozen
horses wait in the paddock. Time waits.
Her sons, brother and sister arrive
from the South. We talk about debut
parties, college children, the view,
our family. Everything, nothing.
We speak little about my cousin
transplanted to this estate. By grace
she made it her own, embraced
a huge family, its mythical patriarch.
The way to say good-bye
is through the heart.
Empty it out
say it straight –
I blurt, this stinks, regret it,
too crude. I apologize, fumble.
Try again. Something more
elegant, profound, memorable.
My last chance.
We hold tight, tear up, do not weep.
Try to be strong, fail.
Of course, we fail.