Thursday, April 22, 2010
APRIL 16, 2010 A Good Leaving
Today's prompt is to write a poem about death. My dad died February 11, 1985, at home in his own bed, surrounded by his loving family. It seems like yesterday sometimes.
A Good Leaving
When Dad hallucinated, he said Charlie McCoy was standing in the corner
Playing his mouth harp. We thought that was a good thing; it relieved us momentarily while Charlie took over.
There was an insistent fly on the window and it irritated the hell out of Dad;
Though I never saw the fly, I killed it many times.
I wrote in my blue, ratty spiral notebook about all the things Dad saw; sat in the hall
or at the foot of his bed and listened, wrote.
The doctors said the cause was chemical changes in the brain.
I thought it was Dad’s imagination
And his lively memory.
He was losing his body but his recollections were alive.
After eighty action-packed years, his parts wore out.
I think he saw heaven when he sat up
and reached with both heavy, swollen hands
for something he said was beautiful. So beautiful.
Hours later he was gone, maybe to that place.
It was a dark hour my cousin nudged me awake.
We put coffee on and called the sheriff,
Then waited for the coroner to come on the first ferry boat.
My brother keened on his hands and knees; his cries pierced my middle.
My mother wrung her hands like I’d never really seen her do.
She relied on me. I’d never seen that either.
I know Dad touched me from the other side but that’s a story for a different occasion.
I still have his gold rimmed eyeglasses and finger them from time to time.