For Caroline Kingston

if they were sentient when they passed –
into eternity – into heaven – into cloud –
into earth – into word – into song –
they wanted most to cling to you –
to thank you – to pray for you – as they
passed between here and hereafter –
struggled to overcome clashing waves
of present soon to be past – struggled
to breathe – to swallow – to speak –
to let go the body – to suspend – finally –
the last spark of electro-chemical glow –
to quiet the hum down in the boiler room
of cells – the syncopation of quanta
acting as life’s metronome – without
which existence stills into non-existence –
to thank you for conjuring a poppy-
smoothed crossing – a starry sea of calm –
on which to drift from shores of sensation
and thought – to coasts beyond time –
or dream

Dick Altman writes at 7,000 feet on New Mexico’s high desert. His work appears widely here and abroad. A winner in Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems, Voices in the Heart of Stones and Telling the Broken Sky.