By: Elizabeth M. (Tacke) Mathes
I lost my choreographer today.
She who picked out my prettiest slip, the one with the lace neckline, stitched on my carboard wings and helped me rehearse my lines. I was the angel heralding hope in her neighborhood passion play.
She was our DJ. Cousin and siblings learned to groove to her 45s.
The stars in our eyes, we took off with Lucy in the Sky, soared with Jefferson Airplane.
My fist act of poetry opened with her. She recited. I giggled,
our feet thumped meter on mom’s shag floor — and the Highway Man came riding, riding up to the old inn door.
I lost my teacher today.
She could locate the sparkle in any quadratic equation,
the logic hidden in the corners of triangles, rectangles and squares, imprinted on me a love for The Bard, whose birthday she celebrated every year. After walking the streets of Antigua, York or Athens, I’d write to her first.
Try to relate the textured walls of history I’d brushed that day .
A history I only knew from her, her books, her relentless curiosity.
I lost my story teller today.
Her eyes squinted, inflamed with so many pages read;
her body often smelled musty , like the best of old hardbacks.
She’d embellish Greek mythology, the trails of Marco Polo, Tudor treachery,
, American politics, hopeful, whimsical and unsightly.
Her gossip was always well-crafted — The Best — she the bee keeper
of the family honeycomb; she’d tell tales. How Great Grandma Tacke
then a young bird, became a jailed one, an Anti-sedition law, her loyalty to the Kaiser; how Great Grandma Susie filled the bellies of Depression era men hitching
the rails through town.
I lost my sorceress today.
There was magic in her mix and measure of spices savory.
Her gardens, flower pots and colored pages arranged in rich hues, homes for fairies and good witches.
Spellbound we’d sit as she cast together common time, B. C., archeology, evolution and the universe. Where she was certain goodness lived.
I lost some worry today.
How is she doing? How could I help? Why doesn’t she? Why can’t she?
Yet, something greater remains – just how much I will miss her.
Stars dim hearts still
an ocean closes.
I lost my sister today.