I go there often.
I enjoy the after hour quiet when night falls and the crowds leave.
On some visits I laugh hysterically – On others I go to cry.
But with each visit I’ve come away comforted when I was hurt,
Hopeful when I have been doubtful,
Encouraged whenever I chanced to dream.
She has always been an icon of strength, chiseled from fine marble.
She stands erect, polished and poised upon a pedestal.
For years I have stood in the security of her shadow
Admiring her form,
Aspiring to be like her.
I have visited during the daylight hours—
Watched others ogle her, listened to their whispers.
There were many who admired her passion and beauty, and Her spirit,
But they moved on.
Lately, I look at her and wonder. –
Did the stress of the throngs, Pawing and staring
Produce the minute cracks around her eyes?
Are her critics to blame for the fractures across her brow?
Or is it my pains that weigh too heavily on shoulders
I thought were unbreakable?
Perhaps it is simply the minute hand in motion
That chips away at the base of the pedestal I built for her.
I want to cushion her and pack her away before she topples and breaks.
But such actions would only extinguish her smile.
I am inclined to encase her in glass, Distance her from the masses,
But that would merely dim the light that glimmers in her eyes
And prevent her from touching others
As she touched me.
No, I think I’ll let her stand
—removed from her pedestal.
Perhaps I’ll notice that she is only human.
None the less, I’ll always love her.
for Marlene Handy, January 1936-October 2014