Not Alone.

By: Jen Shoop

Ed. note: You may have noticed a slightly different appearance for Magpie home page if you are accessing from a desktop/laptop computer today. We are continuing to tweak the style to make the site run well for the Magpie community — pardon the dust if something looks askew!


by Jack Gilbert

I never thought Michiko would come back

after she died. But if she did, I knew

it would be as a lady in a long white dress.

It is strange that she has returned

as somebody’s dalmatian. I meet

the man walking her on a leash

almost every week. He says good morning

and I stoop down to calm her. He said

once that she was never like that with

other people. Sometimes she is tethered

on their lawn when I go by. If nobody

is around, I sit on the grass. When she

finally quiets, she puts her head in my lap

and we watch each other’s eyes as I whisper

in her soft ears. She cares nothing about

the mystery. She likes it best when

I touch her head and tell her small

things about my days and our friends.

That makes her happy the way it always did.


This poem landed like an arrow. I thought of how I occasionally chase the shadows of loved ones — living and deceased — in the gestures of others. How sometimes I will observe two sisters, crowns touching, laughing together on a couch and cast out for my own. How one time I saw a girl walking in Georgetown and knew it wasn’t Elizabeth but caught a glimpse of her anyway. How there was a girl in my class at Visitation whom I’d never met before, but who reminded me so much of a childhood friend that I always felt an undue intimacy with her: found myself defending her, going out of my way to show her kindness. How I see my mother in myself when I am placing a cool hand on my daughter’s forehead: echoes of the people we love, reverberating back to us.



+I am a product of long corridors.

+Things I have learned from my mother.

Shopping Break.

+Cute phone case, spotted on/discovered by Liz Adams!

+Just ordered these affordable padded woven headbands for myself to pair with my spring wardrobe! So pretty with florals or pastel stripes, like this or this. (Lowkey love Jonathan Simkhai — his dresses always fit like a dream and make me feel so elegant! The midi length one I linked reminds me a bit of Carolina Herrera.)

+A great everyday solid-colored dress, currently around $30. Love it in the white and taupe.

+Love this printed blouse for spring, and this one too!

+Chic dog bowls and mat!

+Super fun cardigan — under $50!

+This happy caftan is on super sale! Buy now and your summer self will be thrilled. Perfect with the Hunza G suit I’m wearing here!

+Sweet everyday dress for a little love.

+Trying this tinted lip balm!

+Pretty and versatile everyday dress. More great everyday dresses here.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

2 thoughts on “Not Alone.

  1. Wow – that really got me. Coming up on the two year anniversary of my dad’s passing and some things just suddenly sweep you off of your feet. Thank you for sharing, I will be keeping that one!


    1. Hi Jenn – I am so sorry for your loss. Grief is nonlinear that way, isn’t it? I’m hopeful these words were reassuring for you. xx

Previous Article

Next Article