For Al

Death gives the branches many shapes.
Some stretch sideways over the cliff
As if to breathe a strong whiff
Of meadow flowers below.
Others twist and turn, entwine.
A few snatch at the living,
Reach for their lush green juices
Or sidle up to absorb their strength.

What shape has death given you?
The shape of shadows glimpsed
Through a glass darkly,
The insubstantial shape of soul.
The round shape of life, too
Circle dance of memory,
Reflections cast on my life’s pond.

Your fleshless shape sits
Companionably beside me
While birds sing snatches of your song
In the twisted branches reaching out for life.

Judith Amber writes creative non-fiction and poetry. Publications include: San Luis Obispo Tribune (annual poetry contest), Chest Magazine (poetry) Tolosa Press (creative non-fiction), Transitions Abroad (essay), The Oregonian, Oregon Coast Magazine, Talus and Scree, Jewish Currents (magazine), The Raven’s Perch, Ascent Aspirations Friday Poems and the Fishtrap Writers Conference Anthology.