while stifled, hourly. Last Rites are administered.
The person receiving is slightly aware they are dying.
The Angel of Mercy had sulked away.
Death is measuring a coffin.
The best they can pray for is forgiveness,
easing into death like sitting on a comfortable chair.
nor notice how unjust it is
to have their life-force tugged out of them.
and it did not halt their eventual death.
While alive, they never practiced what they preached.
The doctors have written them off.
Death was filling out the final paperwork.
Nurse scrubbed their sweat like it was Christ’s suffering.
They took pulses, checked for signs.
discovered the patient,
we are glimpses of what we should have been.
I might have done more with my life,
believed with actual belief.
Thousand pray one way or another,
searching for the right words to say.
of passing. Light burrows out of darkness.
Our skin is covered with silvery sheen
like the cherries polished by spring rain.
The terribly hard days flood by —
gone to where they are not needed anymore.
woolen blankets, cool sheets
smelling of orange-sunshine. Light
always finds the hidden and exposes it,
when buds first break free
like in a rapture, like they cannot wait
or cannot get enough of it.
We are cleansed. Our bones
are transitory voices, flocking like geese
practicing for that long journey
to an end they could not imagine —
but, there it is, the end in sight,
calling from the distance,
come here, come here,
I am waiting for you.
and it is more than we expected it to be.
* These poems are from a long collection of poems about "The Burned Down District" in New York which gets its name from the religious revivals in the 1880's after the Erie Canal and before the Civil War.
Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, New York. He was nominated for 11 Pushcart and 11 Best of the Net awards. He provided his hands-on workshop “How to Make Origami Haiku Jumping Frogs” at the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Winner of the 2012 Big River Poetry Review’s William K. Hathaway Award ; co-winner of the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; winner of the 2013 “Trees” Poetry Contest; winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest.