Today at Maura’s funeral and the Irish wake that followed, Maura seemed to be everywhere, threading through conversations, smack in the center of story after story, and in the synapses between jokes and punchlines. She was also shot through this poem I wrote about her that I read at the service:
This is Maura
A thousand dragonflies in the glint of sun, birdsong lifting
at the cusp of morning, or a melody you hear for the first time
and realize you already know it: This is Maura.
The one who answers any call with a fast-risen sun
of attention, unfurling stories involving two lads,
gamboling in the glades after a midnight sauna with the girls,
a late night flight from Poland, or a book that must be read,
and not without a chocolate truffle because life is hard,
and we must not waste any of it.
She is laughing and lamenting in the supermarket,
walking arm-in-arm with Jarek on a snowy day,
or waking from a late afternoon nap ready to rush back
into voice for us, even while navigating the little excruciations
of the body over time, the old abandonments, the beloved land
and she left, the beloved family and community she made.
She is sighing over her grandchildren, so in love with
their shining eyes and lanky undertakings. She is holding out
her hands and calling our names in astonishment
when meeting any of us as if we’re the embodiment
of life’s goodness. She is kissing Jarek on the top of his head
as he sits at the table drinking black tea, her touch telling him
he is always the first and only great love of her life,
and this life has been a continual unfolding of homecoming.
This is Maura, so alive — that sheen, that hue, that lilt —
that her name beats in our hearts as we say, Maura, Maura, Maura,
wherever you are, know we love you keenly, we carry you
with us, we shine with the light you made out of this life.