Today we’ll gather in Topeka with others who were kin — by blood or friendship — with Micah Rolfs, a beautiful and vital young man who died one year ago today. Here is the poem I’ll be reading, wishing all manner of comfort for those who feel the pain of this loss most.
When the Unimaginable Happened
It’s a year now since you slipped out of that failing young body,
gone in the green flash between your vital-limbed life and
the precious air that keeps us alive and you apart.
In death, whatever we know of you turns technicolor,
humming with snapshots: you as a little boy holding up a turtle,
you on a bike a few years ago, you dressed up as large white bear,
you with your camera, smiling into the sun.
From that breaking ice day you left to the thawing into blossom
of spring, the green explosion of summer, the slow honing of autumn,
and now back to this open palm of January, we remember
and say your name: Micah, where we sing to you: Micah,
where we come together to again try to grasp the shape of love
you left, composed of breath and gratitude, tenderness and mourning,
chords and oil, cedar and birds, handprints on whatever we thought we knew
about what should and shouldn’t happen in life, and yet does.
Micah, we miss you. Micah, you left right on time and too soon.
Micah, the sun breaks through the snow. Micah, you would love it all,
you do love it all, we do love you all, our friend, our son,
our cousin, our brother, our boy, our man. Micah, sail easy in
this boyant air of love and knowing, loss and shimmer, and help us
remember what it is to live when the unimaginable happens:
with our arms around each other and our hearts broken open
(Photos: Micah with friends shortly before he died; Micah as a teenager at KAW Council).