They pluck my sleeve, tug my hand, pull
my hair. They do not kneel to kiss my hem.
No, it’s not like that but they want tokens.
Again, not souvenirs but something small
and useful, something that will help them out
after life, maybe in an underworld.
They need a sighted guide to lead them to
the river, and they need a remnant of
the old world as they embark for the older world,
the one that has existed since the first
grievous death. They need to feel they still
can touch and still be touched, as once they did
and were, and one would have to be a cold,
uncaring woman to deny their pleas:
a woman with a bulletproof heart,
without a memory of life on earth.
© Kelly Cherry