For Melody

The sun beat down on your chest
your arms holding you up
like you were in an easy chair.
Everything was easy with you.
You sat up
grabbed a rock
then another one
and another
and stacked them at the water’s edge.
You did that every time we went
to the river
or the lake
or the trails.
You always left some beauty behind
no matter how impermanent
especially if it was impermanent.
You stood up,
arms on your hips
surveying the lake.
It was too cold to swim
but you took off your sundress,
the orange one you always wore,
and dove in.
You resurfaced
pushed your hair back
paddled out
and told us to join you.
We didn’t. I wish I had.
I watched you float on your back
smiling at the sun
your eyes sealed shut.
You were blissful in nature.
You kept thanking me
for inviting you out that day
but I should’ve thanked you
for being my friend
for being my family
for being beautiful
in every way.

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Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones is the associate editor of Carroll County Newspapers and has been a storyteller all her life. She's inspired by strong women who pave the way for other women to succeed. Her writing focuses on the topics people don't like to talk about, like domestic violence, mental illness and grief. By being transparent about her struggles, she hopes to start conversations that encourage understanding and empathy. She lives in Eureka Springs, Ark., with her husband, Gideon, and their orange tabby cat BJ.

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