I shall be more than a visitor upon this earth.
Cities and countries stabbed with green push pins
in a yellow brittle map upon the wall.
Dog-eared journals full of must-sees checked off in red.
Christmas cards sent round the world
Best Wishes from lillian embossed in gold.
When I die, my life shall not flash before me
like quick bold lightning, jagged and gone.
I shall keep everyday images seared in my heart.
Eraser smudges on valentine red, paled with years.
The familiar slant of my daughter’s hand,
scribbled note stuck on refrigerator door.
The love of my life, head bowed, dozing in his chair.
Our white house, its wide open yard
where we chased fireflies on warm Iowa nights.
Visitors tread imprints upon the ground
disturbed, then gone with the slightest breeze.
My death shall leave my laughter and my grin
my dancing spirit and my quirky ways,
some of me in those I leave behind,
having lived and loved upon this earth.
For today’s Poetics on dVerse, the Poets’ Pub, Mary asked us to write a poem in response to another poet’s work. I’ve chosen to respond to Mary Oliver’s When Death Comes. You’ll notice that my first line cues off her last line. History: I wrote the first “edition” of this poem as my very first assignment in a poetry class I took in February 2015. Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems Volume One is the first poetry book I ever bought. This Pulitzer Prize winning poet, motivated my first attempt in the start of my poetry writing. This new version is quite quite different. I like to think I’ve improved in my creative writing attempts over this past year!