I hesitate before buying the card;
unsure if it is still etiquette for baby boomers.
A simple text might suffice now;
but somehow that seems more suited to
sexting, invites for coffee, I’m running late.
Of course, her sisters may be instructed to head off
these well-meaning words, that do not in fact bring comfort
but land on door mats like life’s final demands,
and, will shove in drawers, until the grief
has down-graded from acute to chronic.
In Clintons, I scan banks of birthday, weddings, Christmas cards.
Finally find “Bereavement” tucked away like a pauper’s grave.
Shake my head at brash designs,
with condolences bold as neon signs,
finally find one card, a hint of pastel flower with
“In Sympathy” whispered in lower case.
At home, the card lies on the table waiting for the right words,
until, I sit with pen in hand, mentally writing then scratching,
Thinking of you , So sorry for your loss, Sad to hear,
Instead a brief tribute to her husband; easy to talk to,
edge of his seat enthusiasm for books, art, films…
and to her, an acknowledgement of our friendship going back
some 50 years to the day we were shooed away to play in the garden,
whilst our mothers gossiped over Darjeeling and Disque Bleu.
Later, I slow the car, mute the radio, whilst trying to recall
a red or yellow front door, to their fresh start house;
thrust the card in cursing the tell-tale letter box,
scurry back down the drive before I am caught
door stepping her grief.