In the Presence of the Body that was Ann Hussar

In the presence of the body
   that was Ann Hussar,
	one cannot believe;
I cannot believe.

Although we knew, for months.
   She knew, for months.
	It could not be believed.
I cannot believe.

Even in this room of flowers,
   hothouse flowers,
      cut flowers, arranged flowers,
I cannot believe.

Despite all the lipstick, 
   despite the pink nail polish,
      despite all Charon’s art: this is not real!
I cannot believe.

No!  It is a statue,
   a statue to be erected
      by the grateful people of Oakland,
   	   whom she knew, whom she helped, whom she loved.
I cannot believe.

Numberless as leaves,
   her labors for the people.
	How can the tree fall
   		when the leaves are still green?
I cannot believe.

 “Who can retell…” asks the song.
      But what hero or sage
         comes now to our aid?
I cannot believe.

People’s Oakland without her,
   Family Services without her,
      South Oakland Citizens’ Council,
         Community Human Services,
            Community Action Pittsburgh ……

I can’t list them all,
   the groups that she helped build.
      I don’t even know them all.
I cannot believe.

All …
   all our work,
      all Oakland,
   	  all without her.
I cannot believe.

How 
   can one person leave
      so many holes
         in so many groups,
   	     in so many lives?
I cannot believe.

So woven,
   so bound, 
		like the moon to the sea,
     			like a great oak tree:
   	she will not leave.
I cannot believe.

No!  Someone will come, as she lies here.
   Someone will call out her name.
       Someone will say once again
“Ann, I need your help.”
And she will rise.
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