Follow Me On
The Woman in White Marble

{Click Marble or visit Books in the main menu}

« My Hands Split Open | Main | Boy Soprano »

When Richard Died

There are, of course, always
angels slipping away at 3 o'clock or 4

          from terminals of departure
          onto a last flight
          before the devil pisses on the blackberries
          their work done, no one listening
          to what they must hear alone,
          the final call to board

Angels departing, lying on sanitized sheets
Then slipping sideways through another hole in their lungs,
Exit portal for the soul

          hands relaxing into wax on this chest
          eyes sinking forever into bowls too deep to use
          anymore, muscles slumped against face bones
          workers who have lost their rights to negotiate.

My angel is a musician now,
Whispers rhythmically
To oxygen pumps and whistling face masks.

          In the hallways, behind the curtains
          muted speaking, words creeping
          on crepe soles down linoleum halls
          voices disappearing into kindness.

I ache for a requiem to your going,
O my shriveled angel:

          Kyrie!, Kyrie!, Kyrie!
          Even though there's not enough mass
          to call your attention thisward,
          even your gaze having gone soft and waxy.
          I hold your bones in silence:
          This is my body, your seem to say.
          Behold, and do not turn away
          from these ascensions into death.

After the last softening grip,
When your fingers tightened with finality around my skin,
an electric surge shot into my hand
as I was holding you.
Your last breath pushed through your body into me
as an impetuous shove from flesh to flesh,
one more intimacy between us,

as you headed for the drifting clouds, saying:
"Look for me there when you need me."

          A last tear rolled down your cheek.
          The nurse saw it.
          She said so, sweetly leaning in my ear:
          "Look, one, little tear."
          But I,
          I had already memorized it and was
          already flying towards the open window,

          a fistful of tubes
          limp swords against the lord of life,
          a fistful of wilted lightning bolts
          hailing upwards from outstretched fists,
          banging against the ceiling of the sky,
          arcing upward, searching,
          wanting to see even one, fine etched cloud
          and wailing, Wait for me! Wait for me!
          flinging my voice into the hot afternoon sun
          until it took flight
          a light thing
          with bright wings.

Copyright © 1995 James Lawer

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>