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(04/23/52 - xxxx / Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

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Sleep Walk

for grandmother


Slips into focus a memory
of crocus crazed upon her
matriarchal sill, the killing of
a cock, hacked, dimmed
eye sideways turned,
a dying sun behind a hill.

Red the axe clumsily wielded,
but a boy toying at men's work,
killing to eat, her forgiving skirt,
ankle deep, no longer riven to
morning, unable to witness the
last glorious color bleeding out
in less than insect hour.

Not a shout nor
outcry but this
that is,
that is
about dying.

Clear, this,
this image,
as is now clarity,
of piss, of pail,
splattering tile,
yellow, shining,
bug blear in
stinging flow

piss shock hot
on sleeping knees,
the sudden tilted pail,
its wilted contents,
evidence enough to convict,

and O this,
this midnight stagger,
nothing hurt but trembling
hand shaking to dryness,
the other leaning into yellow,
all the miles it took to get here,
too near, too near, sticky wet,
warm, fearful, roaches and
shadows drawing too close to care

and the nervous clock will not stop

and I am sleepless
beside the night light weak at
her desk dipping ancestral quill
into India ink, a grandmother's
gift upon her quieter end but
equally glorious to the cock's,
her passing from crocus and blood
to this moment, present sparks
wet upon the cleaner page

and I am still at men's work
and I am miserable with failure
but for this goodly work of remembering

her stanching skirt,
her guiding hair bright,
'Lead, o Kindly Light'.

Submitted: Friday, July 15, 2011
Edited: Thursday, May 16, 2013


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Comments about this poem (Are You Hungry? A Poem For Departure by Warren Falcon )

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  • Leslie Alexis (heaven Is My Home) (7/21/2011 2:02:00 PM)

    sweet, sweet poetry!

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