There’s a certain slant of light—
the way the sun slices through half-opened blinds,
of a late afternoon in autumn,
a single star and fireflies
on a new-moon night.
There’s the sound of cricket calls,
a desperation to be heard,
the creak of wood-on-wood,
the texture of a rocking chair,
thick white paint, over paint that tells
the tale of those who came before.
There’s the taste of tears,
so many drops of loss,
the flow of pain down rounded cheeks,
my mother’s soothing touch.
That’s when I learn, too soon
(curled up upon her lap)
of death. There’s always that.
Over at dVerse Poetics Stuart McPherson invites us to tell a growing-up story. Yesterday a neighbor passed away and this brought to mind my first understanding of death. I was barely of an age to remember, but the details and circumstances of the telling are clear in my memory. Interestingly death has been a constant companion throughout my life as a nurse in the field of death and dying.
The title of this poem and first line come from the poetry of Emily Dickinson.