After the Death of a Friend, I Feel Enlightened for Approximately Three Days

Like every other griever, I kept the memorial card
in a book for awhile. Or my pocket. I skipped
the potluck because I had a pedicure, or didn’t have enough

time in my schedule or didn’t make any. I can’t
be everywhere at once except when I am
online. Someone texted me while I was touching

her coffin. While my left hand was resting
on my friend’s satin-lined box and my right hand
made the sign of the cross, my phone

buzzed. This is modern life and the Victorian era
happening at once. This is technology and yes-even-if-you-
have-a-good-cell-plan-people-die vibrating my ass.

44 year-olds aren’t supposed to leave this early.
My head has been soaking in dish soap, my hands?
Crossing off funerals songs from my iPhone.

All these winters have caught up to me. I can’t explain
this turmoil. For a few days I saw God in everything—
the flickering lamp, the bathwater, the unwashed dishes

—but I forgot faith somewhere in the parking lot
when I let the memorial card slip out of the pages
of my book, so I could stop remembering she was gone.

Kelli Russell Agodon’s most recent book, Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press, 2014), was a Finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Prize in Poetry. Her other books include The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (coauthored with Martha Silano), Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry (co-edited with Annette Spaulding-Convy), and Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Prize for poetry and a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Her work as appeared in The Atlantic, Harvard Review, and New England Review. Kelli is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer and is also the Co-Director of the Poets on the Coast: A Weekend Writing Retreat for Women. She lives in a sleepy seaside town in the Pacific Northwest where she is an avid paddleboarder and hiker. She is currently working on her 4th collection of poems. /