To Mary Oliver

Lauren Stengel

In April, you took me to the pond,
where the frogs sang, and you sang with them.
We strolled through the twilit field
and a bluebird spoke, but not to us.
We pondered its meaning and imagined
it was something like, “Glory! Glory! Glory!”

I was there, too, by the sea; did you know?
Where God moved his hand over the water
and the sea rose and fell,
and the waves swelled and frothed,
determined to reach us.
And they did.
For a moment.
God gave us the waves
only to call them back again.

I only just met you, and then you were gone.
As with all beautiful things,
they come and they go,
only lasting one breathtaking moment.

But, perhaps, they aren’t gone for long.
Sleep only lasts ‘til morning.

Are you not, now, the yellow flowers I pass on the roadside?
Reminding me, reminding us, of our purpose?
Is that not you in the whisper of the golden stream
as it slips over sticks and moss-covered stones?
Are you not the minnows nibbling at my toes?
And the water licking my ankles?

You said everything is everything else
and I think you were right.
Because now you’re the bluebird,
and you’re singing, “Glory! Glory! Glory!”
You always wanted to sing
and now you are.

I don’t know what death is, but I imagine it is this:
A coming, a going,
And a coming again.