Original Poetry: Retroflection

A watching grackle in the treetops blocks the light
from the setting sun. Feathers ruffle in the wind.
The bird means nothing, but I try to squint-close
my eyes to block it out. I try to think
of ways to clear my mind because my head
is full of self-pity—a slap in the face

to him, lying supine, whose waxy face
and sealed lips reflect the harsh white light.
Sad and morbid thoughts run through my head
as the funeral winds down. It takes forever to wind
down. After numbing distraction, I finally think
words of closure. The casket groans to a close.

I was by his bed when his eyes finally closed.
It was peaceful judging by the look on his face.
That’s how I would want to go, I think.
Did I then realize he was seeing his last light?
It was as if he smelled it in the wind
like a storm. And to that something, he cocked his head.

Lastly, he told me not to mourn ahead
of due time. Not when the inevitable was merely close
at hand. He fully knew his time was winding
down and found joy in stroking my face.
He kindly asked me to dim the overhead light.
It hurt his eyes, he said; it hurt to think.

I fingered my watch not wanting to think
about his claim that at her funeral, upon turning his head,
he had spotted a grackle in the faded evening light.
“The grackle knows by watching everything closely.
It cocked its head and studied the contours of my face.
It was her,” he said, “with her back against the wind.”

I had tarried just outside the door, as if to wind
my watch. “Thirty minutes should do, I think,”
I had told myself. I hadn’t been expecting him to be facing
the door. I returned his smile and went ahead.
Turning, I checked to ensure the door was close.
I could barely read my watch in the muted light.

To the grackle standing close, I say, “Go ahead
and try to face the last of the sun’s light
for what you think has been lost upon the wind.”

[Check out other original poems here.]


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