Leisa Jean Rossman

   September 5, 1947 - October 23, 2000

All I can grasp is arithmetic,
geometry, collapsed in mystery:
four minus one is not three,
the tetrahedron shall never be a triangle
but extend among its remaining vertices
to some bottomless depth
like the membrane of time and self
stretched by awefull gravity and grief
to collapse at the event horizon,
the black hole that devours my gaze,
our wishing well, and gives back only
the refraction of our longing.

Oh, Leisa! I shall never pluck a carnelian
from the sands, a tourmaline breccia
from the guts of a copper mine without you
at my shoulder to help focus joy
in what the glad earth brings forth
and purpose in lugging it home,
however hollow that feel for now.
I had thought to watch your face
light a million times, ever
with bliss as you lifted intricately-
patterned fabric to the light, watched
our children engage with life,
displayed each new delight discovered
as your garden grew and you flowered
in secure soil so finally earned,
with the radiance and quick sympathy
you gave to each shard
of our accomplishment and travail
from when you sat at table beside me
hardly able to hold the cup in your hands.
You were first to feel and most deeply
for the torn lizard the cat brought in,
the crippled bird, as you became for us,
so strong around the twisted spine, so meek
in the blaze of your beauty, your plumage, your glory
in savoring beauty in all, in the polyglot
song of the world, the apricot swelling on the branch,
the bird fallen to ground, to fly
forever within me.


                           for my sister, killed instantly
                           on  Highway 101 below Hopland,
                           just above the rockshop

                                                               29 October 00