My grandfather (a forester)
Once bet my grandma (a birdwatcher)
That “mourning dove” wasn’t spelled MORNING like dawn,
But MOURNING like someone had died.
She ended up owing him a workday in the woods.
But when these two lovers gamble,
The house rarely collects.
This story makes me smile,
Every time I hear a dove moan.
And there is a comfort in it:
That I’m not the first to sunrise or to grief.
They are, as most things, older than myself.
So when death’s scent
Wafts up musty from youth’s fabric,
–and I’m wearing
a dead friend’s dead friend’s
to the school dance–
I will hum the dove’s song,
Make it my own as I sway.
As grass bows to the wind,
I will submit to grief only to rise again.
The sun will warm me,
as sorrow and love
flow mingled down.