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 is the author of Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press, 2014) and The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, which she coauthored with Martha Silano. Her other books include Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, Small Knots, Geography, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry which she edited with Annette Spaulding-Convy. Kelli is the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press and was the editor of Crab Creek Review. When not writing or editing, she can be found in her small Northwest seaside town mountain-biking, paddleboarding, or walking her golden retriever, Buddy Holly. See more at