Stories and Poems by RHD

Rite of Passage


Rite of Passage

(For Mike Smith)

In the gathering dark,
Mike lived at home,
Warm under blankets 
Of acceptance,
Digesting all the life he could 
From his easy chair,
Bathed in light.
Ann made sure it happened,
A woman of such practical love
(“You do what you have to do”),
Moving him from place to place,
Feeding him,
Sharing the space of his dreams,
From time to time,
The whole family basked 
Together in that light,
Sharing stories of their far-flung lives.
Mike chose one of those times to leave.
Although the light still shines,
He has passed quietly beyond it.

When I think of him now,
Mike laughs at me from the Sky – 
A Kokopelli spirit
Radiating mischief and delight,
The sack on his back 
Full of secrets.
Having helped so many
Along the path,
May the Badlands of his soul
Bear joyful abundance!
Already, his flute song
Fades beyond a hillock.
You can hear it still,
If you listen,
As he saunters off
Without us 
To dance beneath constellations
Known only to him.


This poem was read at the Memorial Service for Mike Smith on January 5, 2019 at St. Mark's Church in Bloomington, Indiana.