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Tributes & MessagesMario Petrucci

A small poem for an immensely-hearted person:

NUMBERED

for Julia Darling

I said once, you had a one in a million
smile — not an underestimate I’d now make.
That last one you gave me, as your first: no ill
bled through, or masked. Just that look-embracing look.
Dark, light – the shadow stirred. You carried it — her —
as if a wayward child, mile after extra mile.
Those dumb cells. If they had sense, you’d have shouldered
them forever. They blanked instead, bulged with guile —
couldn’t tell own good staring them in the face.
The darker they quenched, the brighter you replaced
with petal-fall words. But shadows are heavy;
gather in black drifts.

Yet Julia, now you start
to smile all over — through a showing that tells me
how this sum we are exceeds its mortal hurt.

With Julia, where do you begin? I worked with her for a while with the RLF, where we ran some workshops for the Advisory Fellows. Meeting her was always something to look forward to. A first-class mind, and a warm and loving woman. And always, always, a laugh or two.

I’m so sad she’s left us. I really did feel that her work had blossomed and burgeoned — I don’t know how she managed to work so hard at such a consistent level. It’s just great that she got those last books out, but you do feel she had much more to give. In the end, Julia is one of those writers you want around in person. She did good. I’ll miss her.

Mario Petrucci

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