by Patricia L. Hamilton

for Chris

As we learn you've been loosed from your lifeline
aimless strands drift across the morning.

No more steady suspiration,
only the faint, ragged swirl of currents overhead.

In the new era of your absence
clouds begin to coalesce, gaining heft, direction.

Our stunned silence condenses into sorrow;
shifting shapes tumble past, darkening the gloom.

A crack! of grief splits the sky.
Rain beats the earth tantrum-fisted,

our God-reproaches swallowed by hiccupping waves
of wind that scud along the street, scouring it clean,

leaving us spent, streaming, not yet able
to rejoice that you've slipped your tether,

your balloon-spirit bobbing and dancing
beyond the clouds, cavorting

in celestial celebration, finally fully yourself:
joyful, exuberant, free.

Note: "crack" in line 9 should be italicized.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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