When there’s nothing left
to be done, and the soul
is poised for flight

and all you can do is hold
their hand as they make
the crossing, when

you stand together
at the precipice
of the whole damn

mystery, Ada Limón
knows when she says
you can hear its approach,

a creeping thing, a vine
growing close.
But there’s another sound 

too, like an orchestra
tuning up in the pit,
the stories and jokes shared

around the bedside
to lighten the collective
grief. And even as the soul lifts

off, the conductor raises
his baton, commands
that sudden 

charged silence, a reminder
to lift the instrument
again to the mouth,

for those of us
with symphonies
yet to play.