Our World by Mary Oliver, contributed by Lilah Penner Brown (2019)
My submission is an excerpt from the book Our World by Mary Oliver. The excerpt is from pages 71 to 74 of the book and also includes the brief afternote. The excerpt describes Mary Oliver's relationship with her long-time lover Molly Malone Cook and is a beautiful reflection on their life together and Molly's death. I often read this passage in times of sorrow because it captures the intricacies and tenderness of human connection that lives on even after death. For Mary Oliver, her world with Molly was still very much alive. As she describes in her afternote, Mary Oliver "stare[s] into the past" over the course of the book and couples her written work with Molly's black and white photographs. This coupling makes Our World the creative work of both Mary and Molly despite it being published after Molly's death. I returned to this book recently after the passing of Mary Oliver and rediscovered the wonder of their world together which Oliver gifted to all of us. I hope it can bring others a sense of comfort in times of loss as well.