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Kari Gunter-Seymour: Heartland Hospice

My father has not eaten in 18 days.

I hold his hand, a bag of twigs.

When I was a kid, sick, he’d sing Hank William’s

Hey Good Lookin,’ call me his best girl.

My sister brought clothes today.

We agreed, Dad won’t meet his maker

in paper briefs. She brought empty boxes,

too, always the practical one.

I miss my ridgetop. With the exception

of one person, we are the longest here,

have come to know the staff, meet the families

of others, share the fatigue.

Tonight, the bedside lamp dims,

flares, blows its bulb. I close my eyes,

imagine my father, leaping his boundaries

in a flash, at the speed of light.


From A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen by Kari Gunter-Seymour (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2020).

Kari Gunter-Seymour is the Poet Laureate of Ohio.

8 comments on “Kari Gunter-Seymour: Heartland Hospice

  1. Barbara Huntington
    September 27, 2021

    Beautiful and so close to my thoughts when I lost family members. My parents were able to leave from home, but my husband was not so fortunate. Clasp those memories tight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    September 27, 2021

    That was one of the most heartbraking lines ever:

    “We agreed, Dad won’t meet his maker

    in paper briefs”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David Hassler
    September 27, 2021

    Such a beautiful poem Kari! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on September 27, 2021 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry and tagged , , , , , .

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