Tuesday, May 17, 2011

this is goodbye {poem}

in the end you could not live,

no one can, in the end.

your son went first like a brown otter,

a Mississippi river took him.

over the raw of your face , spirit slip

slipping downstream

pooled in the flux of pupil,

swimming slowly in equations of Pi.

then found- you again

you finding yourself locked up

crying like fragile

breaks cry throughout glass,

' don't leave me ! '

and i did i did leave you say it fast

an hour of time.

what does this mean?

your tidal gown,

pink slippers falling off toes.

the corridors of ill people

in ill fitting clothes.

the cage of your bones,

your fume and fury your fight!

an old woman wrinkle iron

me out but nothing irons out the light.

not the nerve virus, the stinging

nettle palmed in your hands

joint plaster

white lilied fingers, flapper hair

still beautiful.

every visit, i searched your eyes

for yourself.

calling ' you hear me grandma '

body a trembled prairie,

spirit gathering evening light-

i saw it leave each part,

the ankle bone collapsing

the knee agape

the surrender of your organs

to skin,

your spirit moving ever upward

to the eye.

it made me sad to see your piano fingers abandoned.

i stayed close to your face,

like a mother.

if you were to cry

we wanted you to know you were not alone.

finally the whole you was so fine and thin

strained of filament, muscle, bone-

your spirit very pure,

like a teaspoon of rare cream.

soul small child, tipping over the eye,

birthing yourself to death.

body animal burrow, full of baby six times

emptied, moving out now in moving breath

and still as the prehistoric sky.

some time went by

and you died.

this is how it was, and everybody cried.

Maggie May Ethridge
written for my grandmother Elizabeth
... said...

your blog is gorgeous!

Elizabeth said...

Wow. Your mind is fertile -- what you've made is stunning. I will reread this now and dwell inside of it. Thank you, Maggie.

annton said...

no it is me crying... you've catched; wonderful, soft and smart. thank you!

Jeanne Estridge said...

Lovely. Just lovely.

Someday I will read your poetry in the pages of The New Yorker.

Ms. Moon said...

F**k. You made me cry.

Neus said...

Ohh you're very creative! I like it!! Thanks for your lovely comment"

Julie said...

This is beautiful. It describes a lifetime lived, and letting go.

Melinda Owens said...

I read this several times...it's such a bittersweet description of the process of death. I love that you compare it to a birth, just beautiful.

The Beckster said...

"it made me sad to see your piano fingers abandoned.
i stayed close to your face,
like a mother."

That was really beautiful. I just came back from my own Grandma's memorial service last week and your poem very much captured a family's mourning but also the beauty of a life lived. Thank you!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

This is so beautiful, Maggie, as are you.



Caroline said...

Beautiful, Maggie. Phenomenal. Absolutely one of my favorites.

Maggie May said...

Beckster I'm sorry you lost your Grandma <3

Loredana said...

I just sat here crying like a baby!!! Beautiful words.

* said...

(sob) this is gorgeous.

My own grandmother died 17 months ago, I think of her still, nearly every day. And I can still hear her shrill soprano voice...

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