Stopped

by Shari Lynne Smothers

Only the sun showed bright.
I couldn’t tell if it was doing it though.
The air was still
the clouds didn’t move
power lines didn’t sway
as there was no breeze.

A green S.U.V. in the
middle of the street
carried people who
didn’t move or speak.
The family dog at the house
across the street

had fur that seemed
to be on pause and a tail
stuck up in the air.
And as I looked around
at the housetops and trees
I saw the telling sign.

In midair was a flightless bird
neither moving forward nor
crashing to the ground.
The world had stopped,
paying homage to
grandmother who was slowing.

A bit longer things held
to let me take it all in.
“We are all on one accord
in sorrow for our passing friend.”

As everything resumed
flying, blowing, wagging, going
and I continued to stand watching
I realized
all that went by was an instant.

From Pebbles in My Shoes, ©2004

Back–Story: This poem came out of a daily writing stint. My goal to write a poem a day happened to fall in the last month of my grandmother’s illness before she succumbed to the ravages of cancer.

On some days I’d write more than one. And often they were not so great. Still, there were those that wrote themselves workably or whole. This one came out mostly whole—much like the long poem for which the collection is titled. But, you’ll have to get the book to read that one.

Not everything that I wrote that month was angry or sad. Some poems were ironically hopeful. But I find a measure of peace in respecting or appreciating the hurting times. I’ll offer you one more bittersweet poem after this one and then I’ll let up.

As a final observation I’ll share, this poem doesn’t make me sad. It’s a remembrance of my history. As with any poem, you have to find your own reflection in the meaning, or not. When you read a poem, cracking it open is often as easy as considering yourself. Start with, “It makes me think of…” and see where you get to.

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