Wind – Marrow – Bone
Death comes softly
like a small wave or
a blanket, lessening
the stroke. Slowly
the energy leaves and also
the will power to not let it go.
Death is gentle as a spider’s steps
or like the innate laws of decency
methodically, incrementally, ignored.
Death, I rejoice in you, as I didn’t know
how easy your touch was or how
pain and weakness arrive like your welcome mat.
Unless you arrive violent, but then, that too,
because it is quick, is merciful.
Bravery on the altar where you are worshipped
where you demand every part of a soul unseen to be seen,
equal parts of cowardice and courage, the darkening whine
and the warrior who makes it up the stairs
when the body’s strength is but a secret, barely
audible, straining to be heard.
Death you are tender,
you ready us for the quiet nod – yes
or the scream that ripples across the ocean – yes!
You make sure to narrow us completely
so you are the only way out, and we want out,
we want you – like a lover – Death,
lover of the drowned, the burned,
the cancer ward occupants, the accident fallen
and illness that compresses the lungs,
topples over the perching bird.
In the end, we all want you,
jealous lover of the living,
you take us all
either with a breaking virility or
smother us in a maternal fold.
I have come close to you
and I learned
you are made of love,
in the final surrender.
Copyright © 2020 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2020
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