We have decided to skip the viewing to say our farewells in thought without needing to see her face frozen in the morticians best attempt at placidity, erasing the anger, the fear, the frustration, the pain that made leaving easier for her than remaining. We will say the prayers, most of them, she with fervent hope that they are heard, I as a member of the chorus. Some will invoke both the father and son and spirits will be moved, and I will reflect, will listen politely and hope the universe is receptive to one who is now in transit.
I have fond memories of a childhood I never lived. Those are the best childhoods from for they reflect life as you meant it to be lived. In this life my father is in his late nineties, still smiles when he sees me, not didn’t clutch his chest sixty-one years ago, didn’t fall to the floor, didn’t leave me half an orphan again, doesn’t live only in the periphery of my dreams.
a winter night clouds digest the moon cars drive turning lights out disappearing neon signs stare beckoning vacancy open space super condensed matter she moans I love you to starched sheets shrouds wrap her loins a cat scampers into a bush dragging the sun melting the highway electrons run crashing into nothing quantum leaps
First appeared in Erothanatos, Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2019 at Pg. 43
The woman at the next table stares at her fork with eyes which appear bottomless pools of sorrow. She picks at the noodles, raises and lowers the glass of wine without sipping. She is lost within herself and even the waiter approaches with trepidation for fear of falling in and drowning in her sadness. In her eyes are pools of cabernet spilled from glasses cast aside by retreating lovers, the blood of a mother who died in her birth, tears of a father hopelessly alone. You see him returning to the table and a smile of faint hope crosses her lips, lingers a moment and is drawn into her eyes. She watches him finish his wine and with a nod of his head, hers, and she sinks back deep within herself.
First appeared in Erothanatos, Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2019 at Pg. 41
Mom died, the text message read, similar words we’ve been hearing too frequently but always leaving us with the same hopelessness. The words my brother, estranged now, estranged then, come to think of it, said two years ago in a quickly left phone message. I thought of confronting him, but when he never answered, I knew I couldn’t say what I needed in a text message. When my mother-in-law died my wife and I were there, watched as she took her final breath, easy, calm, as if to say, this passage is easier than I thought given all the time I asked God to let me take it. We didn’t feel helpless that day, more like silent observers, standing on the pier as the ship slipped into a vast ocean on the maiden voyage a very new sort.
He was quite tall for then, even tall for now, and that hat must have added almost a foot, a mortician likely as not, if not a lawyer. He wrote eloquently, even if his voice was not quite of his stature, his words always had impact, digging in the gray and blue bled soil of Pennsylvania. Today would be eleven score and nineteen and I doubt the forefathers would recognize the creation or want to. 7800 dead, 27,000 wounded, all watered the Pennsylvania Farms with tears, and today the soil has been given over to stark down signs telling us what they think we ought to know, devoid of pain, devoid of impact. Eleven score and nineteen and we say to those knocking at our door, “not now, we’re full, there is no room at this inn for the likes of you and yours.”
He is bent over, walks with a shuffling stumble. He follows the path, inscribing it center or as close to it as he can get. He wants to say hello to those who would acknowledge him. He doesn’t understand why his mouth refuses to smile, refuses to form even the simplest of words. All he sees is her face, he sees it clearly when he walks each morning as they used to, and he will follow it until he sees it again the loamy soil they will share soon enough.