When someone dies,
their face puckers.
It’s not so much a kiss

as a squeeze,
the body prised
through some other
and it is not their face

but his or hers
in that last moment’s day,
the body saying me,
even the mostly-stolen self

no longer in stealth, breathing,
oh no, oh yes,
oh my. 


Drafty poem for Brendan’s prompt on Real Toads about the harrowing and hallowed.  I’ve been on a bit of a break (mainly working and reading) and I’m not really “back” but this poem came to me, so thought I’d post.  The pic is mine but of a light sculpture by Jason Martin. 

The poem has been edited since first posting.  k. 

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17 Comments on “Last”

  1. The first stanza is so very visual. It sets me right before the body, all prettied up for that last strange goodbye… Creepy. Especially because it is often true.

  2. The poem highlights the limbo, the transition from what we know to what we don’t know. Creative.

  3. That way, the shrivel of the last. So very visual. Than when we see them embalmed they look even stranger.

  4. Rosemary Nissen-Wade Says:

    Yes, we see the body become just the body, wholly the body – no animating spirit within it any more.

  5. Brendan Says:

    Such a finely-wrought proscenium here, defying the whole question of what is lost in dying and asking what is found. Amen.

  6. the body prised
    through some other

    Oh yes, that’s how it feels.

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    Seeing is believing, they say–yet part of us fights sight in this situation, and part of us saves it for later. so that perhaps we do see something intrinsic in the dead we never saw in the living–I have always felt only a blank where there was once *something* an empty frame with the canvas cut out.Do we see that personhood you describe in the first stanza, or only the persona of Death? Your second stanza asks a lot of very pertinent questions in its simple statements…good to see you posting, k, and hope your rest period is being fruitful and regenerative.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hi Joy, I really meant to speak of the instant of death here and don’t think that comes out but will leave it for now. I am mainly reading a lot (and working on job), but the reading is very nice. Hope you are enjoying the HPs! Rowling’s mystery novels are very good too– John Galbraith. K.

      • hedgewitch Says:

        No, I think you nailed the moment of death thing–what I was trying to articulate, the way I felt seeing my grandfather in his coffin, dressed in a suit he never wore in life–anyway, am loving Rowling–on Book 6–will check out her other stuff.

  8. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    You captured both the intimacy and anonymity of the moment of death.

  9. Steve King Says:

    My…you take this marvelous moment of transition and trace it from the physical to the psychological…this is a lovely capture. Beautifully expressed.

  10. Transitions and passages. Difficult times. Very well written!

  11. gillena Says:

    a very vivid description of the spirit’s transitioning. very interesting presentation

    much love…

  12. Jim Says:

    K, I love your ending words, “oh no, oh yes, oh my.”

    • Jim Says:

      This is a perfect ending for this poem, perfect for many when it fits, for sure I sometimes feel like this.

  13. You killed me with those final words. Beautiful.

    Greetings from London.

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