Unexpected Obituary

Spring Garden, Copyright 2007 MDMikus

Spring Garden, Copyright 2007 MDMikus

My husband and I belong to Folkstage on WFMT radio in Chicago. With other donor/ folk music enthusiasts we see up to 26 folk concerts a year, in an intimate setting. This group has become our main social connection. Recently a long-time Folkstage member passed away unexpectedly. For several days afterward I woke with this image in my head—a poem insisting on being written. I resisted. I did not really want to write more about loss, but in the end I trusted that impulse. This poem is about how those in our lives affect us in very real ways, even if we are unaware of it until they are gone. “This is the moment we have…”


Unexpected Obituary

Folkstage Family

Peter Clark
seems to be still standing
steadfast at the back
doing anything that was asked.

Or sitting in the front row
listening and taking photos,
next to him, Nancy, his wife,
partners in all their wide life.

I should tell you one small thing
that is, to me, revealing.
He was selling CDs as usual,
I was buying CDs to be signed.

I had not known him long,
we were not particular friends,
but he saw me struggling to open them
and immediately offered a solution—

a CD opener—he had more than one
from a Folk Alliance he’d just come from.
Not just to use once, but to keep,
a useful gift easily given.

We did not become close friends,
just many brief talks over the years
when I bought CDs or had a new book out
and he might tell me of his books, his travels,

not bragging, but justly proud of a job well done
that might be of use to someone.
And maybe now I’ve told you this
I can lay his ghost to rest.

I did not know so many things, like
how we shared the same birthday;
I learned more afterward on his Facebook page
than ever he said to me.

Now the stories are coming out
of generosity and thoughtful kindness,
a full life well-lived, a good man,
he will be missed.

And maybe now I’ve told you this
I can lay his ghost to rest.

Peter Clark at 73
as old as he will ever be
10 years ahead of me
as day by day inevitably
we all face our eternity.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2015

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