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Poem of the Week: ‘Trio’

(For Jimmie Margaret Gilliam, Priscilla Devantier Bowen and Gabrielle Burton)

By Ryki Zuckerman  

here is what it is:

first the one leaves

and then another,

same day, on the other edge

of the same country,

from the same malady.

when you see the third,

bidding adieu to the second one,

she exudes the wraith

of her end as well.

faint shimmer in the air,

the dark thought that it is the last time.


here is what is clear:

the essence remains long after.

in each of them was this:

the whorl of her attention

centering on you,

in her presence, a calm center,

her graciousness, her smile,

the many gifts of her self she

shyly bestowed on you.


a breeze brushes your ear, 

as if she is whispering her secrets

so you will keep them also,

more for counsel than consoling.

the clouds are wisps now,

lingering, wrapping you

with the determination

to remember her by your

next kindness to another.

Contributor’s Note: RYKI ZUCKERMAN is a poet, teacher, artist, co-editor of Earth’s Daughters magazine and the organizer and host of Buffalo’s Gray Hair and Wordflight reading series. She is author of “Looking for Bora Bora,” a full-length collection of poems published in 2013 by Saddle Road Press and three chapbooks. The most recent are “the nothing that is” (Benevolent Bird Press, 2015 ) and “a bright nowhere” (Foothills Publishing, 2015).