“The Speed of Belief” by Tracy K. Smith:
In memoriam, Floyd William Smith 1935-2008
I didn’t want to wait on my knees
In a room made quiet by waiting.
A room where we’d listen for the rise
Of breath, the burble in his throat.
I didn’t want the orchids or the trays
Of food meant to fortify that silence,
Or to pray for him to stay or to go then
Finally toward that ecstatic light,
I didn’t want to believe
What we believe in those rooms:
That we are blessed, letting go,
Letting someone, anyone,
Drag open the drapes and heave us
Back into our blinding, bright lives.
(From the “The Speed of Belief,” a sequence of poems in Life on Mars © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press. Photo by Flickr user .reid)