Wake

a poem by
MIRIAM SAGAN | Teacher + Poet


 

 
The inspiration for this poem came to me when I sent condolences to a co-worker of my husband’s–not a close connection, but we both come from cultures that value some formal acknowledgement of death. It got me thinking about how lucky I have been to have known people from so many backgrounds, particularly here in New Mexico. I was raised in New Jersey in the 1950s, where there was racial and ethnic mistrust and segregation. Things are far from perfect in today’s world, but I feel grateful for the improvements I experience.
A FRIEND of a friend’s
aunt is dead
back on the rez
the funeral in Tucson
the wake at home
where all the women
line up together
and each one
snips off
a bit of her hair

how did we
get so many friends
with so many losses
and how did I end up
years ago
at a mariachi Mass
just around the corner

it must have started
when I first spoke
to my neighbor

 
 
Enjoy more of Miriam’s work on her blog, Miriam’s Well.
 
Photograph by Annie Spratt