It Was the Sound, I Think


Note: Don’t be alarmed. I am OK. This poem deals with something that happened nearly a year ago.. It will be in a collection soon to be published, but as I prepare the pieces, I find there are still loose ends in my heart that need to be tied up by remembering. This was one.

Death is not bitter…
death is a silence
But, the dying is bitter.
Dying is full of the noise
of the going out.
It was the sound, I think,
that still haunts me,
the sound of your
struggle, the
death rattle.
(Such a bland phrase,
nothing like the
horror of the real thing.)

It was a drowning,
slowly,
inevitably,
the lungs full of fluids produced by
the metastases of cancer
the ravisher of lungs,
scatterer of foul seeds,
ghastly, evil children to stick in bone
and brain.

The relentless
sounds of drowning, your
poor, battered breastbone lifting,
tough heart refusing to stop
long after it should have.
Morphine hid the pain
but took your mind,
filled it full of phantasms
but it at least lay a
warm blanket over the pain

But the lungs were full
and drowned you deep
in dreamy waters, hours
after your spirit had
abandoned the failing husk.
An old friend said you visited her
in a dream hours before.

You had a spirit body,
alive and vigorous and young, happy, she said,
dressed in spring clothes
and driving a sky-blue convertible.
While I tried to give the body
some peace, and listened to
the rising dreamy waters, rattling,
It was a comfort to learn
you had escaped, and
driven away on your
great adventure.

In bright sunshine,
free, in a blue convertible, like the
one you had when we met
50 years before.

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