“Next Year is Thirty” dVerse Open Link #68

We walk two blocks
to the church, your heels
clicking on the concrete.
A butterfly’s sitting on
the sidewalk, we put it
in a nearby tree.

Entering the main door,
we cross our hearts and
bow to candlelit statues —
an altar filled with fruit and photos.
At the end of the aisle
we select a pew
to face the crucifix.

Family arrives in moments,
carrying children, passing
kisses and hugs.
I can sense calmness —
twenty–nine years have passed.

The priest stands before us, elbows
bent to chalice and prayers,
hallelujahs rising to the ceiling.
I can see the notes wrapping
round the room — can the dead
hear our praises?

We gather after the mass,
returning to the matriarch’s house,
passing streets named after revolutionaries.
I look for the butterfly in the tree, I hope
it’s flown to safety in the flowers somewhere.

In your ample home we devote
the meal to your mother —
traditional food and drinks.
With our chairs in a circle,
speaking of older days,
I try to imagine what it was like
twenty–nine years ago.

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21 responses to ““Next Year is Thirty” dVerse Open Link #68

  1. Awww…. it sounds like a lovely celebration. You did what I would have done, picked the butterfly up and tried to put it somewhere in a bit of safety to at least give it a little chance to live a bit longer.
    This gave me such a warm feeling. A really lovely read.

    • Bren, I was so happy when my friend Columba and I had the same thought about the butterfly. It is so nice to know like minded people. She is such a good friend and she doesn’t even speak any English. What a delight to be with her and family.

  2. It is so hard to realize sometimes how fast the years pass, isn’t it? Twenty-nine years, almost thirty; but I bet that those years passed by like ligntning. Where go the years. A beautiful write with so many details that brought the scene alive.

  3. An outsider look at a religious ritual. I grew up in the Catholic church. It was not exotic to me; but I always understood how it could be to others, and strange cultural conventions could be. You wrote about it with care and emotion. Very well done.

    • Gay, I was also raised in the Catholic church, but there is something quite magical about the mass here, maybe it is the Latin or their complete sincerity, which I can’t say I really remember growing up.

  4. man, hard when someone has passed to think back all that time…my grandfather, i have little snatches of him but i have lost much in the years since…i like hte butterfly as that is a bit of magic to me…and symbolism in reality…

  5. So touching and such a kind thing to do for the butterfly. Close to 30 but just a fleeting moment in one’s journey! Beautiful piece, Pam!
    How are you keeping otherwise, Ma’am!

    Hank

  6. I am doing well, Hank. I am a bit worried about my family in New York, other than that I am doing good and you?

  7. beautiful touch with the butterfly…sounds like a great celebration..i think it’s great to remember in thankfulness

  8. I love the part about the butterfly, a beautiful write.

  9. Very pretty poem – the butterfly like a spirit, the mass and family and mother and chairs all vivid and real. k.

  10. There’s a bit of a processional feel to this, something medieval, a ritual of cleansing and peace–the butterfly seems the perfect symbol. There doesn’t seem to be the bitterness of loss here, only the light of memory.

    I hope you hear something soon from your people, pamela.

  11. Hi Joy Ann, thanks for the well wishes. Yes, there is no bitterness, only remembering and love.

  12. There is a particular love expressed for those who have passed that happens when people gather in a place of worship. I call those who have passed the “cloud of witnesses,” and I believe they are a heartbeat away in so many ways, as though a membrane of reality separates us.

    Pamelita, the butterfly and your hopes that it flew away free, a lovely metaphor for the soul’s flight. Hope your folks are well, love, Amy

  13. They are doing ok thanks, Amy. It is a bit of a mess up there.

  14. Dia de los Muertos comes to mind and it is never to late to celebrate a life. What a wonderful tribute. I think we miss out on some things here in the US.

I appreciate all comments.

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