Wind – Marrow – Bone

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.


Beautiful Death,

I have come close to you

and I learned

you are made of love,

embracing completely,


in the final surrender.



Copyright © 2020 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2020



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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