Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When the Dead Are the Dead

He tells me when his father died
there was a great force,
and they felt him leave,

his body vacant now,
but it passed through all of them, first.

You were there? I ask, wide-eyed.
I’m gripping my chair
because I want so badly for it to be true.

My husband has told me the same. He talks about peace.
How his grandmother looked when she died,
or really
the moment after.
The moment when the dead are the dead.

My friend tells me he wasn’t there,
he didn’t make it to the hospital on time.
But his brother was, and his brother told him so.
He says it with such authority. I don’t ask.

It makes me think of my mother
when she found out her mother was dying.
And she moved from room to room alone,
the nurse speaking through the phone in her ear

Come now.
Come now.

My mother knew she would never make it
and this woman, who filled this role as mother
who bore her into this world
would be ushered out alone.

My mother moved from room to room
alone, searching. Like a good thief in her own home.

Back at the bar, I listen to my friend speak.
I look between him and my husband.
They are sure. They know.
They have stood too close to death.
It has happened to them, without it happening to me.
I am still on this side.
Alone, searching.

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