In the Moment

By C. Wade Bentley

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Linger awhile . . . so fair thou art.
–Goethe, Faust

the little honorary pallbearers
place their boutonnieres
on the casket before it is lowered,
but for once I am not thinking
about death or about the woman
I knew well long ago, nor—
when people I haven’t seen
for decades hug me as if
just last night we were swapping
stories around someone’s back-
yard fire pit—nor am I, in this
moment, obsessing about
the passage of time, caught
up instead, as it comes over
the slight rise, weaving through
the headstones, silk roses, teddy
bears, tiny American flags,
the guy in a straw hat throwing
wilted flowers
into the back
of a pickup truck, struck
by the sound of someone else’s
bagpipe procession, the wind
taking some notes, softening
the edges of others so that
one could almost believe
in some other land there, foreign
but familiar, just over the hill,
but for
now it’s enough to be here
in this moment, the one in which
my granddaughter kisses my wet
cheek, reminding me of nothing else,
carrying with it no dramatic irony,
no conceit, just a moment
like so many, these days,
I might wish to let linger.

– C. Wade Bentley