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A poem for George, specks in the eternal sand

by Devon E Mattys

When I think of you,
I think of rock and sand.
I think of Pajarito burning
and the early Rio Grande.

I think of caves and canyons.
I think of mesas and plateaus.
I think of riding on your shoulders
on dust-and-tufa roads.

I think, dear man, of millennia
and of lifetimes spent apart
and how photos freeze
and illuminate memories--
mere pinpricks in the dark.

Our lives are similarly snapshots
in the continuum of time;
even the longest ones are only blinks
for that eternal eye.

So though it feels too soon,
as though it went too fast,
your life, like all the others,
was but a photograph.

For short and long alike
are only grains of sand.
And together
we're all the desert
of this vast, unending land.


Author's Note: For my dear Uncle George, the last of my New Mexico relatives, who passed away unexpectedly in May 2017, at the young age of 61. I began this in the days following his death and finished it as I hiked to the place where he wanted his ashes scattered. He loved nature and was rarely without a camera. I didn't get to see him often, but I loved him deeply. He will be forever missed.

Posted on 08/04/2017
Copyright © 2021 Devon E Mattys

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 08/04/17 at 04:50 AM

A worthy tribute, Devon. I'll be turning 60 in October, and with so many gone before me, wonder how long my own journey will last.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 08/04/17 at 02:53 PM

Very moving tribute. You really bring this to life with the sand and rock, caves and caverns, especially thinking about the grains of sand. Thanks for sharing.

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