by Julie Martin Hutson, In Memorium
The ground gapes, but only slightly, to receive this small one
It is as though the ground were a face and rather than open wide
It merely parts its lips.
The father gently places her into mother earth
Trusting trusting trusting
That someday they will see face to face.
The mother weeps into the arms of her own mother
Willing her to bear the unbearable
Until she can hold it without breaking.
And I, the one called to speak words of consolation
To surround this horror with holiness
Can only stand beside her, as sentinel of your presence.
One by one the people approach
Friend and family and neighbor and co-worker
No one knows how or why.
I look them each in the eye as they come
As if to say that the Divine One is here
Here for them too.
The sun begins to dip and the people begin to leave
And still I stand beside her
Beloved tiny dust tucked into mother earth.
The shovel heaps just twice to cover her
As if tucking her in
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I finally turn to go
Trusting that you, Holy Parent of us all, have heard our cries
And welcomed her Home.