Michael Row Your Boat Ashore

your laugh brings me joy,
your honest bubbling laugh

the ribbon in your hair
the dress you’ve put on
your hunger for life
despite the broken heart beating in your chest

your words to the freshly-terrified
that it will get better

the Michael Row Your Boat Ashore
coming from your swollen little face

the smile in your eyes sometimes now,
even though your son is gone

the salmon steaks you made me for lunch
through your large-muscle spasms;
the gift of your Self
despite the thief that has moved in to stay

the fresh strawberries you served me,
with chocolate squares that melted before our eyes
in the noonday heat
of a September day
that sparkled

your eyes meeting mine
your beautiful essence

the tears of joy the music drew from you that night
under the sky
through the layers of your many years
and the oceans of loss
that sometimes bury your laugh

the grace you extend
over and over again
in the face of broken promises,
or those who forget you have trouble hearing,
or don’t understand your need for freedom,
or that chaos makes you crazy

the smile on your face with each milestone
as you chase your dreams

your whispered paintings
the confession that you still
after all these years
enjoy your wife

the eulogy you wrote
for your own funeral
which made us all laugh
with its naked honest humour

the tears you didn’t hold back when my heart broke
the dancing and laughter you inspire
with equal ease
in almost the same breath

your undying sense of adventure
dressing up for dinner
bringing gifts of homemade bread
your brilliantly shining courage
doing the hardest things
because you know you need them
to protect your essence, your joy

your feisty, defiant protection
of those knocked down, being passed by
your commitment to listening carefully, patiently
for the truth beneath the words

your willingness to learn new things
even now
or to say
I might have been wrong on this, or that

or to simply say
I like you very much

the hug that lasted
and lasted
because words were inadequate

my hardwood floors
freshly picked apples
whipped cream
a good night’s sleep
music under the stars
the thousands of songs on your playlist
the potato salad I made for later
your hands on my back at night

your slamming the door on fear
again, and again
jumping into the deep water
willing to read the depths
and see brilliant colour

all these are pure joy
all these I will honor
and hold
in the strong vessel of gratitude

6 thoughts on “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore

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