Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jason Irwin: We Watched the Lights

for Joan M. Burns(1971-2008)
It was an evening in mid July. 
You and your brother were staying at a hotel 
downtown, on your way back to Florida, 
after weeks of traveling across the north east, 
revisiting all the old haunts: homes and graveyards, 
friends, family, favorite bars.
“The last hurrah!” your brother exclaimed, 
knocking back his fourth whiskey, 
but I pretended not to hear, 
because I knew he was right.
I just kept watching you. The way 
your lips moved with barely a sound, 
how your eyes fluttered and your head sagged 
like a damp flower.
You hardly touched your food. 
Down to fifty-eight pounds 
at your last check-up. 
Yet, your hair was still beautiful, 
flowing around your shoulders, shiny
like the wheels of your chair.
After dinner we went up to your room. 
From the window we watched the lights
and traffic of the city below. 
You talked about the old days again, 
as if they were the here and now, as if 
by repeating all those names and places
you could somehow hang on.
With the morphine you drifted off 
to a place beyond any of our reach. 
Outside, waiting for the taxi
I looked up at the hotel, my eyes searching 
from one corner to the next, 
trying to find your window.

Copyright 2016. From A Blister of Stars by Jason Irwin. Published by Low Ghost Press.

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2020 by in Poetry and tagged , , .

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