Painter, Photographer, and Writer

This Day I Die

The day before I died
Clouds burst open
Poured rain all over the world
Spilled leaf to leaf
On water-blackened trees
Swirled down streets
overflowed gutters
Turned dogshit in yards
 Into pungent mud
Drowned a fool stuck
In an arroyo

I lay quiet, listening

To my own finality:
My stuttering heart
Lungs crackling like old leather
Brittle intestines drying out
Everything useless
Collapsing, rotting
While Bernstein in the other room
Led Beethoven in thunderous ode
To life, the Eroica
Followed by Tu, Solo Tu
Though there was no tu
Only Ustedes, my children 

Their faces worried moons
Owl eyes filled with sea
I am their only mother
Waves rippled my reflection
Dry tears flaked onto my cheeks
Fell into my eyes
Mouths muted by incipient mourn
They did care, after all
(I'd often wondered)
They whispered, "It's okay-kay-klay-kay
We love you-you-you-you"
Underwater reverberations
But it wasn't okay
I wasn't ready

Today I am ready
Today it is okay-kay-kay-kay
Bernstein and Beethoven are at it again
My breath in long, scraping rasps
Doesn't hurt, just hard work
One last pump of blood
eyelids freeze mid-blink
Lungs wheeze flat, silent
Useless bellows

There is no light to guide me
Down a shadowed tunnel
No white-robed choir
No bearded man at a gate
"Y'all come on in, make yourself t'home"
No tu, no Ustedes, no nosotros
Just me alone with Ludwig and Leonard
And the Trio Los Panchos

A silken plume like smoke
Ribbons from my mouth
Like a tender snake
Roams about the room
In and out of dusty corners
Around my stunned children
(Munch's scream times three)
Staring at the husk of me

Looks for a small girl with brown braids
Finds me and I--we--
Twine round each other
Around and around
In gossamer jig
I--we--grab the bronze doorknob
Of the French door
Pull it open
slide through