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From Border Crossings

12.

(for Jimmie Margaret Gilliam)

By Dennis Maloney

 

It is a summer of sorrow. Friend

after friend has crossed that final

undefined border without guards or

checkpoints between this world

and what lies beyond.

 

The body is at war with itself.

Insurgents plant roadside bombs, rebel

armies attack systems without warning

and the warp and weave unravel leaving

a ragged edge behind.

 

The last words written, a worn satchel

of poems left behind, lines rattling around

the fading brain. We can not barricade

our hearts to sorrow anymore than we can

deny the joy of their being now gone.

 

These fragile objects we accept

at the passenger’s own risk. Contributor’s Note: DENNIS MALONEY is a poet, translator and the founding editor and publisher of White Pine Press. His poetry collections include “The Map Is Not The Territory” (Unicorn Press, 1990) and “Listening to Tao Yuan Ming” (Glass Lyre Press, 2015), and his translations include “The House in the Sand” by Pablo Neruda and “The Landscape of Castile” by Antonio Machado. This poem is dedicated to Jimmie Margaret Gilliam, the much-revered Buffalo-area based poet and educator who died Sept. 24. White Pine Press will publish Gilliam’s final collection of poems, “Torn From The Ear of Night” in 2016.