Alone in life
Alone in death
Found under the underpass
With whiskey and bloated stomach
Did the birds mourn you?
Did the river whisper tears?
Did the moon keep watch
As you laid dying?
Did God glance your way?
Your stench found you out
They scurry about your corpse like ants.
They housed you in a morgue
Washed by the staff
Examined by doctors
Finally, you received some care.
If only you could see it.
Projected stories were your life:
“Washed up junkie”
Now they give you another name
This will be a homeless funeral.
Buried in a nameless grave
Surrounded by the company of others
Who also carry your name.
Pulling the skull pieces from the wall
The brain matter spread over it all.
You didn’t intend it but your last grace
Is that at least you didn’t destroy your face.
Maybe those you left behind will view
The pieces I put back together of you
But that wholeness, security you broke
Have burned and scattered in the smoke
Of that gun you put between your jaws
When you blew that hole through the laws
Of life. A life you rendered as a tithe
To the world’s darkness and Death’s scythe.
I look at your head, disfigured and displaced
And I can’t know the darkness you faced.
Perhaps the disfigurement is your artistry
Opening up to us the inside we couldn’t see.
“I see it! I see it!!! I SEE IT!!!” I yell
As I look upon the art of your hell
Behold your magnum opus is your final scene
But I will work to ruin it and make you clean
Of the blood, the cracked skull and pin
Together your broken, frayed, discolored skin
I will restore and embalm your broken head
While we all wish you back from the dead.
Waves crash over you, throwing body and mind
In chaotic directions of darkness and pain.
You were made for the land and so you hold your breath
As you claw your feet into the ground.
The currents pull you out deeper and deeper
Each gasp is met by another wave of details and emotions.
What do we do now?
When should we have the funeral?
Should I go back to work this week?
How can I raise the kids on my own?
Death and grief plunge you again into a foreign terrain
Where every breath is struggle.
You weren’t meant for this
You will never see them again
Except in the recesses of your mind where
Memories will be replaying
Scenes that become distorted by time and erosion.
The sleepless nights
The disingenuous platitudes
The religious cliches
Wave after wave.
You will not accept this.
You will never reach “acceptance”
Of the new normal that threatens the foundations of being
Foundations broken by the waves that rippled
When he/she fell into the depths of the oceans
Leaving you in the wake of the waves.
The Promethium advances of medical science
Watch from the sidelines as deteriorating minds
Are rendered to a nascent infancy where
Fade backwards into nothing.
If you give something away you don’t lose it.
“Nothing can be done” your doctor sheepishly admits
“Your time is slowly fading”
Your questions like,
When will I lose my license?
Will I be violent? What will I become?
Are met with a simple, “I don’t know.”
The anticipatory grief begins.
If you give something away you can’t lose it.
Time is now a precious commodity
Time is now your worst enemy
Time will fade you
Time will take your memories
Now and only now is your best time
Now is the time to get the house in order
When you give your memories away you can’t lose them
Active management for such a passive disease
Write it down
Share “that one time . . .”
Use that time to give, give and give.
Give yourself away. Quickly.
Time is running out.
Because . . .
If you give yourself, you won’t be forgotten
They say, “She’s at rest.”
Their bald mother lays with distorted breast.
Breasts that fed
Arms that held
Her warm smile
Locked in the vault of the soul.
Her children’s liminality has ended.
Today, they are only parents
They can throw away the adult diapers
The myriad of pills and medical terms.
The night watch.
Both relief and grief
As they say “she’s at peace.”
Ten years she battled.
Tears and more tears mingled with fear.
Doctors, doctors and — as it spread — more doctors.
“She battled for us” they said.
“For her grandchildren and children”
The end wasn’t met with a fight
Because death was the savior.
Death the midwife of peace and freedom
From the pains of a broken body.
“We are at peace”, they say
After a last look, they walk away.