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Posts Tagged ‘death’

 

with thanks to Kyra

 

 

Minor and slow,

the Russian death song

on the cello

fills the room

with loss and beauty,

the two rubbing

together like notes

side by side on the scale

played at the same time.

I lay on the floor

beneath the great instrument

and feel the waves of it

as if they originate inside me—

play it again, I beg

the cellist, and then,

when it’s done, I beg her

again, play it again,

And she does. And she does,

the warm notes filling

any chill they find.

 

 

 

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One the Day After

 

 

 

on my lap

the emptiness refuses to purr—

it is all that I hear

 

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One Lament

 

 

 

In the ragged purr of the cat

in my lap I hear all the sun

she has yet to curl into,

all the mice she has yet

to chase, all the days

we don’t have left.

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Just Before Death Comes

 

 

You want to say,

She was old, she had a good life.

You want to say,

She was treated well.

You want to believe

that death can be tender,

a blessing, a dark and beautiful flower,

and maybe you do say these things,

and all the while

your heart sags, wails,

curls like a cat into itself,

longs to be held

in some great, warm arms

even as you hold out

your own unsteady arms

to hold what can never

be held.

 

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They are dead,

the sunflowers,

all petal-less and brown,

and I almost uprooted them

from the garden,

almost tossed aside

their tall brittle stalks,

their heavy bowed heads,

 

but see today how

the small gray birds

flutter amongst the dead

and dive for dark seeds,

how the garden air shimmers

with dozens of wings.

 

Patience, I think,

with whatever we believe

is lost—

so much beauty survives

even after a frost.

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Before the sadness comes the shock,

like snow falling on sunflowers,

like nightfall at noon. And then

the tears catch up. And then

the wondering, What could I have done?

The urge to hold her now that I cannot.

The ache to hold her daughter, to hold

her son the way that she once held

my children when they were young.

What is there to do now but cradle

each other, to cry, to recover, and again

to shudder, to cry. To say to each other

that this day it hurts to be alive.

To notice that despite grief,

the larkspur are in full blue.

The river curls notes around the rocks.

The bees immerse their bodies

in snapdragon blooms.

How it’s never been more important

to know this—that the world

is beautiful. That even as we’re held

by tragedy, here is tenderness.

Here, always waiting to be opened,

the invitation to love.

 

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In the Garden

 

 

 

I apologize

as I squish

the green worm

that’s been feasting

on the basil leaf.

It does not change

the fact that the worm

is dead. And the basil

now will live.

 

Yesterday, my friend Carl

stopped me on the street

and wondered aloud

how we die

to the moment,

then greet the next.

He did not,

of course mean

a literal death.

 

The basil leaf

has a hole in it now

where the green worm

is not. I pick it

and eat it myself,

not out of spite,

perhaps

to feel how the worm

and I are not

after all

so different.

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