stand by me
A Name for All
by HART CRANE
Moonmoth and grasshopper that flee our page
And still wing on, untarnished of the name
We pinion to your bodies to assuage
Our envy of your freedom—we must maim
Because we are usurpers, and chagrined—
And take the wing and scar it in the hand.
Names we have, even, to clap on the wind;
But we must die, as you, to understand.
I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
As only they can praise, who build their days
With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
Struck free and holy in one Name always.
Yesterday, I hit Kohls, Target and Staples. Make forty copies of this, my to-do list instructed. Buy travel-sized toiletries.
This afternoon, its been:
Return these e-mails
RSVP to those parties
Wash my long dark denim skirt
On Friday I'm flying to Boston for a Women's Retreat. My husband and kids will go on ahead to my in-laws for Spring Break. I've been scurrying, hyped up on black coffee, packing for all of us.
Just when I'd sorted through the piles of dark clothes to be washed (two pairs of jeans and three shirts should be enough for each of them), I received a voicemail from my friend Beth's husband. You know, Beth, with the beautiful children, the beautiful blog reflections – the Beth I went to college with, lived with for five years in Chicago – the Beth who stood by me, holding me firmly by the shoulder when I thought I'd die giving birth to my youngest son, Benjamin. Beth, Benjamin's godmother. She is, for all intents and purposes, a full-fledged member of our family. And she is, as her husband's message conveyed, spending her afternoon saying goodbye to her father.
I've had my cell phone in my pocket, awaiting an update – still physically taking care of business but mentally engaged in an attempt to will my emotional presence, my support of her, past the miles that separate us and into the quiet of the excruciatingly profound moments currently encompassing my dear friend, and her mother, her sister. While I'd moved about, planning ahead, the soul of a kind and generous man approached the curtain dividing this life from the next. This is me pausing, standing still, out of respect for the magnitude of that impending passage. Lord have mercy.
Bound together as we are, both joy and grief reverberate, as they should, through the whole of us. Love means choosing willingly, purposefully, to absorb the impact.