Landscape, with a Glimpse of the Soul as it Leaves the Body

My girlfriend, telling of her mother’s
last moments, describes the gaunt
frame they prop on pillows in the living

room, windows they slide open to a view
of mountains behind a curtain of gold leaves.
The cancer has chiseled her features close

to bone, but still she struggles to listen.
Hearing is one of the last senses to go;
and so they shush the relatives

that have come to start chants of ritual
mourning at her side. A son-in-law
slides a bow across a halting serenade

of viola strings. Grandchildren whisper
in her ear, urging her to the crossing.
And at the end, my friend swears

there is a split-second glimpse of wisping
breath— leaving the white-throated body
behind, slight tear like a wing in the air.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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5 Comments


  1. I love how you transmogrified those white-throated sparrow songs (which are, of course, very sad-sounding).

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  2. Luisa, This is a lovely description of something familiar to me. I have also had this experience. At the time of a death, something lifts away.

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  3. Thanks, everyone… It’s been tough finding untrammelled time lately, to come to VN to write (we had the week-long ODU Literary Festival last week, and then guests at home for 4 days since Saturday). So hectic! And therefore I am doubly glad to be writing here.

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