Tim Mayo Poet  



Contact Info:

Tim Mayo

P.O. Box 522

Brattleboro, VT 05302-0522

<tim-mayo@tim-mayo.net>

Mourning Among Strangers 


To some extent, they were all strangers 
to him, as they gathered around her bed, 
impatient for death to assuage what they 
imagined was her suffering.  He was their
father, freed at the last minute from his wife, 
the fairy tale’s standard step-mother,
to breech the continental divide and say 
goodbye to a daughter he hadn’t seen
or spoken to in twenty-odd years . . . and, 

though guilty of the same transgression,
certainly I––the interloping lover, professed kin 
to no one––I was a stranger to them all: 
the father sitting opposite the tightly knit 
sisters and brothers, their husbands and wives, 
all of whom had found it so understandably 
difficult to live with her plight, thus always 
wondering how I could possibly . . . so, 

it was there, in those last, long hours, 
gnawing on the cheese and crackers of guilt
and grief given to us by those kind attendants
at the old folk’s home, who housed her 
for her last few days––though she was young 
by their standards––it was there, 
as I read out loud some innocuous poem 
I can’t remember, now––mine 
or someone else’s––which had 
seemed so appropriate at the time
but wasn’t to her father . . . yes,

it was definitely there 
that I learned how easy it was, 
among strangers, to let one’s grief 
get in the way of another’s.



              From ​Thesaurus of Separation

Contact Info:

Tim Mayo

P.O. Box 522

Brattleboro, VT 05302-0522

<tim-mayo@tim-mayo.net>