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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Poem of the Week: Prayer for the Dead



Perhaps you're sick of the snow poetry I've brought to Poem of the Week by now, and I promise it will abate for a bit! I can make no similar guarantees about the snow that started late last night. But even if we tire of snow, can we ever tire of Maine poets? Not only has Stuart Kestenbaum published five books of poetry and served as Maine's poet laureate, but he also hosts the "Poems From Here" feature on Maine Public Radio every Friday, which celebrates poetry of the region with a wide array of Maine poets reading their own work. Check out this wealth of diverse verse here. https://www.mainepublic.org/programs/poems-here-maine-poet-laureate-stuart-kestenbaum. And now read on for a gem from Kestenbaum himself!


Prayer for the Dead


The light snow started late last night and continued all night long while I slept and could hear it occasionally enter my sleep, where I dreamed my brother was alive again and possessing the beauty of youth, aware that he would be leaving again shortly and that is the lesson of the snow falling and of the seeds of death that are in everything that is born: we are here for a moment of a story that is longer than all of us and few of us remember, the wind is blowing out of someplace we don’t know, and each moment contains rhythms within rhythms, and if you discover some old piece of your own writing, or an old photograph, you may not remember that it was you and even if it was once you, it’s not you now, not this moment that the synapses fire and your hands move to cover your face in a gesture of grief and remembrance.

-Stuart Kestenbaum

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