To Those I Have Loved by Aidan Kelly

Melinda, who of all has loved me longest
And deepest, says I trail a cloud of threads,
Shining, invisible, each thread the bond
I made with each of you, each thread unbroken,
Not forgotten, mercifully anesthetized by time,
Yet leaving still a bittersweet “What if?”

That cloud’s no burden. You were how the Goddess
Came to bless my life, not as a vague picture
In my mind, but as Her, in flesh, incarnate joy
Ever since empowering my life and work.

How many more years have I to write?
I can’t know that nor, if not now, when
I could say to you and all the world
There is a path to knowledge of the Gods
As wordless, sure and tactile as a kitten’s fur.

Salvation’s in that overwhelming instant
When we were one, not two, and yet ourselves,
Knowing we never had been lost or needed
Rescuing, when the innocence of childhood
Erupts again from the center, shattering
The shell grown by the pains of growing up,
When we know there is no shadow universe
Of disembodied minds; there’s just this one
In all its messy, ever-growing glory.

So now I tell you, Yes! We loved, and still
Do love, and pray for those who never have.

Aidan Kelly has been writing poetry for 60 years. He has bachelor and master’s degrees in poetry writing from San Francisco State. He’s had about three dozen poems published in journals over the decades. His collected poems are on Amazon, with slim volumes of selected poems, and he’s been teaching at the college level since 1979. He’s been an editor for Stanford University Press and Scientific American Books, and has a wife, sister-in-law and three kids at home.