Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shades Of Black

This was written by me after a funeral in 1986 of one of the first AIDS patients that I had.

Polyester Black,
Knit Black,
Silk Black,
Cotton Black.
All for the same purpose, all for the same reason.
Wet smoke creeping around our legs, hanging at our waist.
An Orthodox preist. Watching an old man's trembeling hands
holding golden candles
many candles,
mourning a dead son and his dying memories.
Cold October rain
As the wet smoke hangs at our waist, waiting
Praying and chanting in a forgein tounge
Forgien faces,
Forgein customs
Beside his grave.
Eating the honey dipped bread and not knowing why?
Remembering the day we that we brought him here.
He was the first one who just died. Right then , right there.
I walked into his room, he took my hand, he nodded and then he died. They beleive that through my body and part of it stayed.
They are right.
but, not just him.
All of them.
This is where I gain my strength
To carry on.
They give me more than I give to them.
They give part of their souls
To me.
The part they want to leave behind.
He was tired.
He was ready.
He waited for me to arrive.
I did.
Now, I would go and tell his mother.
She would not understand my words.
My forgein tounge.
She would see it in my eyes.
He would tell her.
He did.
I was there,
I am here again, today
Different shades of black.
All with the same meaning.
They miss him.
Wet smoke hangs in the air.
I watch it slowly creep about those standing near.
It visits.
It waits.
They are unaware.
Cold October rain.
Dripping, dripping of of  mother's hat.
Black eyes
Black wool


  1. Ruth,

    I am speechless. Your poem is a work of art.

    I am sure there are more and you need to gather them all up and publish a book of them.

  2. Your poem IS truly a work of art, as Sheri says. Your description of the trauma ensuing after your grandmother's death is also quite interesting, and so typical in a lot of ways. I enjoying getting to know you. God bless.