Tending the Cairns



Tending the Cairns

Rain begins as I do but I keep walking, only
showers, sure I have time to get to the rock

two miles out the road into the woods,
climbing slowly to a ridge it never reaches.

Here is where my husband walked with me
his last time, in this season when we recount

liberation in order to count, the Passover meal
served after we eat bitterness and tears,

after we remember how we arrived
at this table. Winter walks hid what fell,

pillars of freeze and melt, how weather
broke the cairns I’ve built for him for years.

Now I reach the rock, my shoes muddy,
my hair a moist frazzle but no rain yet,

time to gather fallen stones and rebuild
balance, adding one stone I chose today, one

each visit. I bow, I tell him stories we told
last night then turn for home, running in rain.


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.
This entry was posted in Grief, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tending the Cairns

  1. walking thru grief, stone love

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