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Friday, May 31, 2013

"After the first time you died, you told me that you had seen God"

Mary Krane Derr, Polish American poet
Kathryn Krane
Mary Krane Derr was my Facebook friend. Mary had a chronic illness, and she was a writer. On Facebook, she was very open about her struggle to publish, and her struggle to live. Her frankness helped me to be frank about my own struggles.

Mary passed away on November 30, 2012.

Today would have been Mary's fiftieth birthday.

Mary's sister, Kathryn Krane, is now my Facebook friend. Kathryn posted this poem on Facebook and kindly granted me permission to post it here.

For my sister, on what would have been her fiftieth birthday

I remember hiding under a table
while you were raging
and hypoglycemic
I played with toy soldiers
and pretended you weren't there.

I crawled out later as you slept
approached your bed in little steps
avoiding the creaking floorboards
trying to breathe so softly
didn't want to wake you
I didn't wake you
I touched your hand
prayed that you would get better
You didn't get better
I stopped praying.

I didn't ask all the questions
I want to ask
about your death
I have enough images
in my head already
and haven't wanted to know
just yet
how awful
was your struggle for breath
at the end
what it was like to sit
by your side
waiting waiting
for the ambulance to come
too late.

I have seen terror in your face
as you flailed
your eyes rolling without aim
or recognition of what they saw
I have seen the look on your face
the helpless fluttering of your hands
that says
I want to live
I might not live.

After the first time you died
you told me
that you had seen God
and that She was like a flower
eternally blossoming
always becoming
never completed or at rest
and that you knew one day
you would return to Her.

I don't know how
to respond to that
Once we could argue about it
But the second time that you died
you stayed dead
and there is nothing else
we can say to each other. — with Mary Krane Derr.

Mary talks a bit about herself here. Here is an excerpt:

I am a poet of Polish-Celtic-Germanic descent from the United States, Chicago to be precise. I am not A Big Literary Celebrity. Nor am I a writer of such hip obscurity that hipsters fawn knowingly over the mere mention of me. I am not even in the know enough to know if hipsters still stride about in all-black clothes and behave all cerebral and ironic and anhedonic any more. I don’t even have any all-black clothes, except maybe some big ass cotton stretch pants from the sale bin.