The Sweet Hereafter
While I was making supper for my mother yesterday afternoon, my thoughts returned to the short poem I had written early that morning ó now a page and what feels like a lifetime ago.
As if I were a ghost, I saw myself standing at the stove and said,
How fitting if his pale life
were to end here,
after such a fine farewell.
Then I took myself by the hand, but the fool would not follow me home.
He peeled an onion instead, and chopped three ripe red tomatoes.
What good is it, I said, if he does not know?
And so I tugged again, this time a little harder.
Resolutely with his free hand, he crushed dry purple basil.
I know not how it happened, but I took a joyous breath.
My spirit ached and my nostrils flared.
May the sweet hereafter be such a pain as this.
September 21, 2006
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