Author’s note: This is the beginning of my thoughts on this. Yesterday, the world lost another beautiful person to cancer. I will miss my friend Grace, who was a shining light to so many people. She had the most courage and strength of anyone I have ever known. And as a former teacher of both her children, I will stand protector of them, even if from afar, forever.
How exotic to be a part of your family Your grandmother adorned in Shanghai Jade Dreamy-eyed when your grandfather Arrives home from the airport Still very much alive And celebrated widely Kisses her, exhausted from healing, Legacy beginning, Doesn’t stop to sleep yet And sits in his study Clinking bourbon soaked ice Between his cheek and his teeth
You and your sister Not yet breathed life On this earth Will inherit these gestures His folded-arm stance Her slight secret humor Their society’s gaze The mountain view From your own safari jet
And how as children You will play And read and dream And not know That I look at your class picture Now with the others Teenagers become Perhaps moving on From their loss of you
Author’s note: This is a poem I wrote in 2006. That year, a previous student of mine was killed with his entire family when their private chartered plane went down over Kenya.