POEM from Janine Pommy-Vega

As a species we are eager for connectedness
visceral connectedness,
At 10:04 p.m. Saturday, when Jane left this life
I was at my own kitchen table, listening,
when they came for the body at quarter to twelve
I burst into tears. Connectedness was where
Jane lived—a state large enough to swallow
up fear, congregate the solitudes, smother
opposition and tip the scales in the people’s favor

“Are you sisters?” people asked.
Of course we were,
arms linked into the restaurant, going
up or down the stairs. If either of us had been gay
we would’ve jumped into bed, the magnitude
of these last nine months, our meetings
always included the third one, death sitting with us
while she showed me again and again
the jewel of community

“Give me ten women friends,” she said.
I’d had a foot operation; I couldn’t walk or stand.
“You’ll have a hot meal and a visit every night.”
I’m a Don’t ask for help if you can do it yourself type
I watched the flow and synchronicity of friends
and women I did not know—people were at the heart
of Jane’s credo—a lesson in civility, and not incidentally, justice.
I was stunned. She’d done it.
“General Jane,” I called her. She preferred Quilty Jane.

Regular as the tide your breath
while I held your arm in the dark your
last night, eyes closed at the threshold with you
I saw a yellow paper and letters in black
in a round handwriting:
My friends, I love you all. Give ‘em hell.

Why, it’s a note from Jane, slipped under the door
the same message as your quilts,
your signs, your origami, everything you did.

Attended by Mary, a mid-wife’s doula
you wait until the house is empty
to be on your way, birthed into another life
where turning a corner into the furnace
you are in the white gold fire
of the inner heart, blazing away.

.............................................. Willow NY February 23 2008