Poem for Neeli by Agneta Falk

for Neeli

“…Wipe my tears
tell me I’m remembered
lie if you must….”

All those birds that flew into your poems
where will they go now?

and all those voices within you
Whitman for breakfast
Neruda mid-morning
Emily D for lunch
late afternoon coffee with Rimbaud

and there you are
among the brambles
turning them into soft petals
with a stroke of a pen
Igniting all living things
making them sing in your poems

Goddammit, Neeli
you snuck away when I was out of the country
a missed phone call in the night
stood between us, so I don’t feel
I got to say goodbye properly

there will never be a call
from you again, asking for an ear
for your latest poem. or share
your worries about the state of the world
or just have a little kvetch
about those who kvetched more than you

So much of your chuckling still hangs around
and your dreams of traveling the world
with your poems, though the poems
have their own velocity, and are well
received in Italy, Greece and Albania

and A’zam Obidov in Uzbekistan

hasn’t closed the door on you
somehow your poems will
awake in that language too
the way your birds migrate

I know that the shtetl
you carried inside you
casts deep shadows on your way
those feelings that were never
put to rest, a gigantic aleph
wrapped around your heart
and that prize you never received
will be sent to your cloud house
you are remembered
and I’m not lying
I’m wiping your tears
and mine

Agneta Falk

Photos taken from the Internet