Still Life
by Dayna Leslie Hodges

Like a still life photograph
Capturing a moment
The feeling evoked
When late afternoon light
Cascades in warm perfection
Like a character entering this stillness.

When Dad’s light began fading
And the sunset’s half tones of memory
Turned blue
His memory diminished broken
A still life dismantled
In the invisible interior winter.

I felt the frigid climate
The cold hues of his memory freezing
With each endeavor to reach him
And nothing I could do
Was ever able to thaw the fragments
Back to life
To be a comprehensive still life
In caressing light
Of a beautiful moment
To be held in remembrance
Like a photograph.

A portrait
In black and white film
Illuminates every detail
Even the gray areas
Express themselves in dignity
And highlights in shadow
Reveal more than meets the eye
The unblemished certainty
That life and love
Lived here.

There is no returning to
Once upon a time
When Dad remembered who he is
When sunrise was stronger than sunset
As the end of days approached.

When Daddy died
Stillness echoed to eternity
Silence fell as time stopped
Stillness breathed
A still life once again
In morning light
Through windowpane.

I interrupted this stillness with
My heart ruptured
Flooding me with downpour
Grief bleeding rain and thunder
As I draped myself over his body
Not ready to let him go.

Profound and tender memories
Like still life moments captured on film
Reside with permanence
In my memory
Where the light is always perfect
And I remember everything with emotion
And my body holds every memory
In its pores and sinews.

I never want these memories to hide in shadow
I carry them all in their honesty
And warm composition of caressing love.


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