RIP Mary Oliver

Diana Dinerman
Jan 18 · 2 min read

When I heard the news, I felt the swell. The swell before the tears. The space in my chest that fills with a question. Does it hurt enough?
And then they came.
A friend has died.

I remember when I found you. I was 22.
I was visiting Winston-Salem, North Carolina and I bought a book of poems.
I saw myself inside them, like a still lake — reflective.
When I was 23, I gave your book to someone I loved. I told him it was important to me and not to lose it.
He lost it.
I was so angry, I wouldn’t buy another copy. The years went by…
Whenever I am hurt, I deny myself what I need. That is my sickness.
It took me a long time to forgive him.
Five years later, I bought the book again. That’s the moment I let go.

Now, some twenty years later, I look at my book shelf, and your name appears on it more than any other.
You’ve always reminded me of what I need to remember — I belong to a family of things.

What is true:
There lives in me a bud of rage. No matter how many times I lop off the blossom, it grows back.
The wing of the bird, the yawn of the dog, the stretch of the cat — all living things are reaching to become themselves.
A poem can be a friend. The one who knows your despair.

He isn’t coming back.

All the things I love will die.
But, I don’t want to die with these dreams frozen inside me.
I write to thaw them out.

RIP Mary Oliver. You are heading home.

Diana Dinerman

Written by

Writer, Comedian, Consumer of fine things @ddinerman

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade