Silent footprints frozen in the melting snow of late winter.

Three graves.
Three beautiful lives.
Their promise lost to this world.

Debris of autumn gathered ‘round protectively.
Flowers and tributes have come and gone –
victims of the elements, and time.

We stand in the late-winter sun near their graves,
Silently struggling with our shared purgatory.

A husband and father left to cope with the loss
Of all that was important in life.

I ask, “What can I do?”
“Talk about them.”

Keep them from fading into the collective memory,
As the world returns to quotidian life.

Photos of all of us together – and happy,
Silent witnesses to their absence.

Memories of their goodness,
My most precious mementos.

Looking down I behold the place
where they now rest together.

I hold them gently in the arms of my mind
And speak to them of my sorrow and longing.

R. S. Cushing-King
March 2008