Picture at the bottom
tied up in a pit of moths.
The royal crown, life without
a wheel to ride. Paving up the stream
where children once charged down an incline
and jumped into its shallow body.
Instead I am weakened, unable to hold
my breath for more than ten seconds,
lungs, tender with each breath, wounded, flaccid,
but airways enflamed, engrossed with harsh swelling.
Will I die this way? Before my children are fully grown?
Will this be the place, alone, afraid, surrounded by love with
no love able to save me, repair my pulse, give current
enough to dismantle the throne of this disease?
I lay on a bed, under sheets. I know what is tomorrow. I have no choice
but to let go. My children! My husband! My darling loves!
Winter has not yet come – here, but more like spring
crushing my chest, one breath, one breath, heavy liquid
rising in pockets meant for air – one breath, one breath.
The morning has arrived and death is edging nearer. I see it waiting
for me on my neighbour’s roof, patient, not as a predator,
but more like a sea at ebb tide, gathering moon gravity
and a natural motion of force that will eventually drown
whatever remains on the beachy shores, drowning
before winter – one breath.
My children are on their own as I am and I cannot stop
this freezing, save them from the cliffs of mountain-burning grief,
prevent them from being orphans in other people’s homes,
holding eye contact briefly with other mothers who love
them, feel for them, but never the way I have loved them.
The world will wax me, carry me across on the path of my heritage.
No one will be alright. Death is never healed,
it is a garment permanently glued, re-shaping the wearer,
taking the light through a black hole, ending the peace of ignorance.
One breath. The sky has changed.
It is the last time I will bear it witness, from now on –
hospital ceilings, the insides of my eyes and dreams of purgatorial pain
overcome, of dreaming my children old with children of their own.
Don’t stop dancing, I tell them, don’t watch me. I am sorry.
I can barely breathe. Is God real?
I am holding many hands holding mine; whispers, I love yous, goodbyes.
My last breath escapes me, easier now. I hear singing, sobbing, singing louder.
I am listening, complete as a stone. My work is over. My love is burning.
It is a sun. It is the shape of that song.
Copyright © 2015 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Think Pink Issue 2” Pink.Ink.Girl. Press, May 2015
You can listen to the poem by clicking below:
“Allison’s poetic prose is insightful, enwrapping, illuminating and brutally truthful. It probes the nature of the human spirit, relationships, spirituality and God. It is sung as the clearest song is sung within a cathedral by choir. It is whispered as faintly as a heartbroken goodbye. It is alive with the life of a thousand birds in flight within the first glint of morning sun. It is as solemn as the sad-sung ballad of a noble death. Read at your peril. You will never look at this world in quite the same way again. Your eye will instinctively search the sky for eagles and scan the dark earth for the slightest movement of smallest ant, your heart will reach for tall mountains, bathe in the most intimate of passions and in the grain and grit of our earth. Such is Allison Grayhurst. Such is her poetry,” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.