In memory of Carmel O’Mahony Campbell

What’s left behind…

you, like a ship of state,
berthed, on view,
our chance to grasp
the last mystery,
and stifle any gasp
at the cold touch of you,
to compose ourselves
as someone’s hand
has smoothed you
into peacefulness…

us, like fragments of you
the same hooked nose,
the bluish tinge
under eye,
a sardonic lip curl
when nobody’s looking,
the swift cut of hand through air
empress-like as a point’s made,
a tone curdling
the innocent remark…

the words, the scatterings
we’ll use to tell your story
in the church later,
of a party girl,
who knew the recipe
for vodka martinis,
who loved her mother,
who talked dangerously,
who warned us not to go
to our graves
without knowing…

who when confined,
charted her whole world
by the phone line,
keeping the rest of us
in touch
whether we cared to
or not…