for Joan

Sit under the tree long enough     
And you will be covered in blossoms    

We will all bury our loves      
In the cold earth of springtime    

Even if no one is there to watch
Or bear witness or testament

Even a hero’s song will end in oxygen machines
Count the stars adorned on your chest

Bronze, golden silver as you will
Fish will cast about in the far-off sea

A stranger will sing a familiar song
From the hillside in the park

Play a mournful horn for me
Let the twin symphonies trace the tides

The children will remember
Where the animals are buried

Even if it’s deep in the woods
They will show you a crawling rose

That climbs up a spruce towards the sun
If the sun does not shine it is still there

Keep that light, even if it’s a can of kerosene
In the flatbed of a work truck

Om is the sound the mouth makes
On its last out breath

A sacred whisper to hold the great mu together
Two vibrations existing in ether

Somewhere someone is ready
To let go of what seems apparent

Despite the rigor of fact and pleading
Mouth this melody

Wait for the dandelions in the field
To spread their effervescence

All that is sacrificed is not forgotten
All that is loved does not leave

Let prayer be a whisper
Song a celebration

Sing to the lake light of fading day
The cormorant rounding its own reflection

Tonight, the soft petals blow from the tree
And even the small dogs find

What it is they’re looking for

i.m. George Kovach (1947 – 2020)

Mitch Manning

Mitch is the author of a book of poems, city of water (Arrowsmith, 2019). He teaches in the English and Labor Studies programs at UMass Boston, and is Associate Director at the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass Boston. His poems and interviews have been published in The Doris, BOOG City, Let The Bucket Down, Sundial, Hollow, GAFF and more.

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