Felicity: A Tribute to Mary Oliver

JD Miller

According to the introduction 
Of this particular collection of poetry, 
Mary Oliver currently resides in Florida. 

I know better, though.
I know that in reality,
Mary doesn’t reside anywhere, right now–
Or maybe they had a point, in Florida. 

I did not check, and have not checked, 
To see if that was her final resting place, 
As it was her resting place before 
Things took such a final turn. 

The truth is, that I am among the masses
Who, following the death of any great, 
Any giant, legend, matriarch or myth, 
Any true master of their craft, 
Must flock to the foot of their bed,
As though all along, 
We’d nurtured some quiet fondness 
For the deceased.

The truth is, I would 
Be ashamed to show my face 
At the funeral of The Late Great Mary Oliver,
Having been, until this moment, a stranger to her life,
And her life’s work.

I am a poser, a fraud.
At the very best I am one of those 
Band-wagoners, following a well-worn road,
Which in its course has brought me here,
To this bookstore.

I hold Felicity in my hands. 
In my heart, I mourn the passage of a pioneer 
That I wish I could’ve mourned, a month ago
When all the world was eloquent with grief,
At the loss of the woman who gave so much 
Of herself to so many.

In a way she is here 
And I am not too late. I hold some part of her now,
A piece I can still know, while the rest of her, 
(Or I think not very much, after all is said and done)
Resides, as the prologue says, in Florida.