Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jenne’ R. Andrews: Of Thanatos, the Footman

Naked you were luminous and all my cells
photographed you, stayed with me all these years.
But there was a shadow to that beauty.
When we are older we acquire it as Thanatos,
the reminder, steps out into the light.
.
Doug Anderson, Eulogy

.
.
I now know the photography
of my own cells, their very attention
upon your face where mere hours ago,
a shadow passed through you—
Thanatos, waiting down the long
Decembers for us.
.
It had been a calm Saturday but then
for a moment, beyond diversion,
you began stumbling through our
common language; even as my heart
sank, there was an invisible cloying
in one of the veins mapping your head.
.
Then I saw an angel’s diamond-toed
slipper fall from heaven.
We had been speaking of the languor
of early autumn weather, the banner tails
of the hungry cats. I called the ambulance
and within moments, a flurry of others
in our home, clad in a svelte darkness.
.
This was but one compressed hour
within arrested day while I hurried,
tightening the brace around my leg,
the frayed back brace I wear
around my hips to stop my spine
from crying out— the cane,
.
without which I am nothing, the pack
hugging our commingled necessities;
unsure of what might have happened
between then and now,
I flew down the rural road to you.
.
In my sideways walk I entered the ER,
nearly slumping against a pillar;
a nurse saw me, brought a wheel chair
and then I came into your room–
a bay curtained beneath the brightest
of all lights, a fluorescent sun:
.
how thin you were beneath
the several flannel blankets
they had brought from the warmer.
I’m fine you said, lifting your head,
reaching for my hand.
.
But in another room I heard
Weeping; I saw another flurry
of nurses, gulls settling
over a seal carcass, salt-cast
from the mawing sea.
.
I rose from the chair, hovering
near you; they wanted you to stay,
for more testing and God help me,
I couldn’t let them have you, not yet.
.
Soon we were in the truck
together, heading back down
the road I have traveled
for many years, road freighted
with the grief of those driving
through rain-flecked twilight
to hemorrhage regret–
.
to the one Thanatos, the footman,
waits for, in a listing and muddy
carriage– weighted with the sodden cargo
it must let fall into the frigid earth.
.
How spent, how frail we become,
bending over someone’s stillness,
reciting the litany of those
who pretend to be fearless,
gathering him into our arms.


Copyright 2015 Jenne’ R. Andrews

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This entry was posted on October 28, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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