A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
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.