an elegy of sorts

this is my poem for today, an elegy of sorts. my memory intrudes
and tells me i’ve been here before, long ago, when my biggest worry
involved stalking my grandmother’s cat, the one that liked to hide
under the basement stairs, the one that only came out at night to lie
on top of my belly as if i were a piece of bedding. since then i have
developed a new style of writing, but my vocabulary hasn’t grown much,
and so i was fumbling through flash cards for some last minute
studying when i got the news. my mind was so fuzzy that i went to the
caterpillar’s corporation office and said i was supposed to take their test.
four hours later i sat in my car and i swear i could feel it swaying like
a boat at sea. she would have known the feeling. from our phone calls
i could tell we were more alike than i thought possible. now death has a
hold on me like no other. you don’t grow accustomed to it like you do
waiting in line or waking up to your alarm clock. it’s always new. it’s just
as horrible every time it happens, and so a precise sense of longing rests
within my bones. i need to be young again so she can pick me up and put
me on my golden retriever’s back. i need more trips to tennessee restaurants
and more picture-taking sessions. i need her to tell me i’ve lost weight
and i need to thank her for noticing. i need her sense of humor,
the way she called her husband fat and sassy as a euphemism for lovable.
i need stories. i need to meet my biological family and ask how they
turned her into such a strong fighter. she wanted the
world, that much was clear. she got the world plus cancer and some
madness on the side. sometimes even scars refuse to stay, but i believe in
translating eternity with words. if they exist…what do ghosts and angels
do for fun? i can’t wait to ask.

Kristin Leprich is a young poet and fiction writer currently attending Illinois State University. She is an aspiring speech-language pathologist, but she never forgets to speak her own mind, too.

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