Leonardo apologized to God
(or his friends) at his death
for leaving so much undone,
and I tell my children, “Just bury me
in a pile of papers.” On the day
my mother died she had her list
of “to do’s” as ready for that day
as she daily was for her high school
English students with her lesson plans
we found, always beginning,
“Prepare the room,” and then on
to the daily quote for the blackboard
(they were black then), intended
to inspire her young charges,
as they must have done, for she saved
letters from middle-aged men
letting her know one of those clichés
had changed his life. I only hope
not too much chaos is left in my wake.
Anyway, we are ever discovering
treasure from others' left-behind clutter.
Merwin noted that every year we pass
our Death Day but never note it, never
quite sober up enough to get it together.
What I know is, every task I mark off
my “to do” list today needs doing again
soon enough. And despite
unfinished business, it seems to me
that Leonardo (and my mother)
left behind legacy enough.
About the Author
Carol Hamilton taught second grade through graduate school in Connecticut, Indiana and Oklahoma and was a medical translator and storyteller. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has published and received various awards for 19 books and chapbooks of poetry, children’s novels, and legends. She has been nominated ten times for a Pushcart Prize.