Bluets

 

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Bluets are blooming, salting the grass with clusters of their pale blue blossoms, another reminder of how this season conflates renewal and loss for me.   “I know you haven’t been able to get outside much for the last few weeks, so I brought some outdoors to you,” a friend said to me the day of Eric’s funeral.

My friend is a clay artist, and had made a tiny pot, dug up a clump of bluets and packed them into the bowl to bring to me.  He was right.  Eric’s illness and death had been so fast, and taking care of him so all consuming, the opening of spring happened without me having time to notice.

I kept the small patch flowers on my windowsill for a few days, and when the flowers faded, I kept the pot.  The small empty well of brown clay was sad and sweet and comforted me, thinking of my friend’s thoughtfulness, and how right he was to know I’d missed the outdoors.

When the pot got knocked off its shelf a few years later and broke, I was sorry but not upset.  I had the memory and the association of the bluets, that still comes back to me every year.  The Truth About Death holds the bluets too, as one of the final images from that year of grief, that season that comes and goes.

Anniversary II

Someone is being buried, cars clustered on the road
by the cemetery, brilliant like the day your coffin rocked
in the haul, the cemetery men jiggling a stuck strap, rocked
as if in your boat, we’d dressed you for kayaking, swinging
paddles in the pivot of your hands. I’ve stayed organized, ready
for blackness, speed the answer, no question. The grass is longer,
dandelions will be next. I found stones in a box on your bureau.

I was dazed, I was sitting in the funeral car, the scary center,
a friend ran to get me water when I asked, the clearness
of water, the green gleam of lake water over white sand,
the coves we found and rocked over, passing fruit and Scotch
across our boats, parallel, holding each others paddles,
face to face. I move too fast, bruise my hips, keep
moving. You told me never to leave you alone again.

I bring the stones to your grave, one white, one a perfect black
circle, I slept with them in the pocket of your father’s shorts,
found them on the sheet this morning. Birdsong from a maple
budded red like at home, bluets in the grass. I’m living
on ink, fire on the paper for the millisecond before it dries,
sunlight on water, the constant flow and flash, the center,
going through the door and never coming back.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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One Response to Bluets

  1. Sam says:

    That’s one of my favorites

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