This Is Not a Eulogy

by Liz Clift

Sometimes I hear your laughter in those moments between
waking and sleep, when the binds that tie what is and could be
are like putty stretched thin, rainbowing and breaking. Of course
that’s how we all are, moving through space, sometimes stretching
too thin, sometimes breaking, twisting together to make some new
whole when we think we’ve got nothing left to give. Mullein reminds
me of that walk in the woods, where we talked about the ways
you dulled your softness. You passed one of those soft leaves to me,
a reminder to both of us to be present. We returned to the wooden chapel
in the woods, surrounded by friends who were also searching for reasons
to hope. Maybe god was lounging in the crossbeams, watching
as you shrugged off your jacket, slipped it around my shoulders
took my blue tinged fingers in your hands. Truth be told, that was the day
I fell in love because love is rarely showy, because we’d already spent hours
upon hours laying out the soldiers of our hearts, showing each other
the formations, excusing those whose services were no longer needed.
Truth be told, I’ve never believed in god because I believe in
people, in trees, in memories held by mullein, the soil, the ocean, that dry fir forest
whose needles cushioned our steps, cold air and the way it keeps
small ghosts. Maybe somewhere you’re laughing.

Liz N. Clift’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Hobart, Passages North, The Nashville Review, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Iowa State University and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.