february 14, 1920.
our next-door neighbor
and my God-mother.
always smiling. Rose.

she almost made it
to 88.
i bought her a present
and it wasn’t late

this year. like it
has been for the past
eight. but it was.

just two more days.
i beg. i spent
today, the 15th
at her funeral.

she was 87
with a childish spirit.
she was always happy
and sharp as a tack.

so keen.
she knew everything
about our city.

she dug her nails into happiness
and gripped joy.
that’s what i’ll remember
her for.

she was deep.
below the surface.

not like your
i remember attending her husband’s—
my God-father’s funeral. George.

i was a kid
and pretended to ball.
because everyone else

i just had a runny nose
and played along
with everyone’s

i remember playing in my front
yard. our cul-de-sac
and her glow would
shine in the window.

she was my angel.

and in our backyard
she watched me too.
it was Rose.
always blooming.

her kids left her alone.
they were my parents
age. my parents
took over.

alone. all these years.
she adopted us.
for holidays.
for conversation over coffee.

i had hot cocoa.
i remember rushing to her
house. on the hour.
for a thrill

only i could receive.
i wanted to hear and to watch.
the grandfather clock

that filled her
front entry.

i met her three kids
well, adults. with
families of their own.

and they thanked us especially
my mom who was the only one
who spoke besides the priest.

as we buried her.
i felt burdened
by her family

because she’s my

but, i learned that i’ve been
lost on the surface.
lost in the maze.

happiness is a transparent
layer. it comes. it
goes. but Rose
taught me joy.

an inner peace.
i will miss her.
dearly. and today
i shed real tears.

february 15, 2008.