She Who Shows Up

Dianne Avey

She who shows up
to guide tiny fingers
toward ripening blackberries
and the spiral
of a moonsnail shell

Late summer treasures

She who shows up
with tea and bread
all the time in the world
to walk hand in small hand

My son beautifully distracted

From the work in the sunroom
where his father lay dying
amongst white linen, soft voices
and falling tears

She who shows up and
I can remember sunlight
and smile at knowing
that one can still hear
the whole ocean

Inside a shell

About the poet:

Dianne Avey is a family nurse practitioner with Franciscan Medical Group in Tacoma, Washington, where she has practiced for more than twenty years. She has a passion for writing poetry and has been working on a collection of poems on grief and recovery following her husband’s death from cancer in 2006. Her poems have appeared in Wrist Magazine and Sibyl Magazine.

About the poem:

“During my husband’s last weeks of life, a colleague and close friend of his would randomly show up on our doorstep; she would spend the day with my then six-year-old son, taking him on long walks, exploring the woods and beaches around our home. This simple but profound act was the inspiration for the poem. Our home is not easy to reach, as we live on an island accessible only by ferry–an even greater testimony to her dedication and kindness. I will never forget how much it meant to me, as the mother of a young child, to have my son be so ‘beautifully distracted’ during such a difficult time.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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About the Poem


7 thoughts on “She Who Shows Up”

  1. Only months away from my senior-citizen birthday, I have been burdened with a high school critique that I “didn’t have an aptitude for poetry.” Consequently, I have avoided reading poetry… my incredible loss. Thanks to Pulse and its beautiful poets, I am finally breaking through this unwanted, yet powerful, invisible barrier.

    As a new grandparent and person who has lost someone close recently, this poem touched me on several levels. The “About the poem” section reinforced my confidence that I got it.

    Thank you, Dianne, and thank you Pulse.

  2. I was so moved by your poem and the courage you displayed in writing it. It inspires me to be better friend and trust your instincts to reach out. I pray that you are healing and well.

  3. Your friend truly walked the walk as she gave the gift of service in your time of need. Your tribute to her touched my heart.

  4. I am touched by your lovely poem. It has rich imagery. The lines are short and not wasted on excess . I hope that putting your feelings down on paper has helped you to heal while giving us a gift of your words,
    Phyliss L. Geller

  5. I am sorry about the loss of your husband.

    And your friend is so wonderful, especially her just knowing what you needed at a time when you hardly knew what you needed. I suspect that you are a good friend, too.

    Dorothy Blake

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"On Being Different"