True Tale: Preparing for Sleep
I discover the poetry of Jane Kenyon a few weeks after my father dies. I pick her Collected Poems at random from the library bookshelf and begin to read.
Nothing has prepared me for such a frank, yet delicate, appraisal of the world, and line by line I begin to weep.
Eleven years after my father dies, I am lying in bed, trying to prepare myself for sleep as Mrs. Hill, my high school English teacher, said I should: by letting good words have their way with me just before I turn off the light.
So I visit the nursing home where Jane Kenyon’s mother-in-law, a tired, wild horse, lies dying, and I hear her plead for the Master to come with a halter that He himself has fashioned, and lead the old horse home.
And I press a cookie to my forehead with Jane, to honor her dead mother-in-law (as well as the cousin who baked the cookie), because there is nothing else to do at a time like this.
What more can I ask than the gift of Jane’s good words for my lullaby this evening, when even the coyotes seem to be weeping for something lost?
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