Saturday, March 10, 2018

The 40th Day

Today is the 40th day since my mother died. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the 40th day is the official end of the mourning period, referencing the Ascension occurring 40 days after Easter. For the 40 days following death, it is believed the person has not officially left this world completely, and may still visit their homes, their graves and their loved ones. After this day, the deceased has now officially moved on. Clothes can be given away to the poor and the house cleaned out.

  
The 40th Day

No more visits
to the urn,
to the frozen grave, still undug,

to the closet
where the clothes still hang,
to the shoes and belt

still laid out
for the next day
that never came,

to the bed on which
she laid down
that morning

and from which
she never rose again.
Now is the time

to rise up,
to go onward
deeper into

the mysterious color
that deepens and shimmers
and goes on and on.

It is time to shut the door,
to turn out the light,
to turn away

and move on
from what was once
familiar

and is now awkward
and strange.
It is time

 to go
and leave behind
the urn

the closet
the bed
the shoes and belt

the one who
stands there
empty-handed

and bewildered
and staring
blankly

into the gathering dusk
and all
it holds.

—Jamie Parsley





1 comment:

christie iverson said...

Lovely Jamie. It is a long hard journey.