We do not touch our dead anymore.
I touched my dying mother.
I could not touch my dead 
mother, though I kissed them both.

I turned off that awful pumping machine 
that kept the air in the mattress that kept her 
as close to comfort as one can get 
when one is dying piece-by-piece.

The machine gave its halting rhythm 
to the slap-dash ritual of getting 
her home before it was too late
to get her as home as one can get.

I remember turning off the machine, 
pulling the first wracking sobs, and
welcoming that finality for her.

The machine is dead.
The motor has stopped. 
There is no more.

Now, we cry and drink.

We lost the depth from our bones
we tossed death from our homes.

We lost the power of the touch 
of that darkness-tempered acknowledgement 
of unknowns.

We need those worms in our souls
or we rot, un-composted. 

Many thanks to Susan for this one...
Puttin' the Po in NaPoWriMo...piece by piece...

22 thoughts on “Touching

    • Thank you Ms. Light…it is indeed something that we should acknowledge more, and not as a negative but simply as a part of the whole. We must embrace it, for it embraces us. Many facets in this yet for me (us?…all of us?) to explore.


  1. Johnny, you caught this, the hardest thing to do (I know). We know it is the right thing, the only right thing to do, but letting go–my God, it is so hard to do. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful, sad piece of your heart with us.


    • Thank you Susan. Yes, catching and letting go. The letting go (even of pieces of your heart) is necessary, and not to be confused with turning away from or rejecting–both of these are still clinging. It is perhaps counter-intuitive but we can only let go by accepting and, yes, embracing…but now I’m preaching…


  2. John, We have to see clearly where we are before we can decide where to go next. Thanks. Poets like you are the radar, sonar, eyes, ears, touch cultural knowing soul. Alice


    • Wow Alice, I don’t know what to say but thank you. I’m not sure I’m ready for all that. Just trying to figure out where I am, and yes, where I’m going. All these things you mention are receptive senses/devices. I like that. Been thinking much about receptivity lately. Best way to learn where you are.

      Funny…my dad was a radar observer on b-29s in WWII…perhaps there’s a poem in there…

      Thank you for your focused attention and receptivity of my work.
      Always appreciated.


        • Its Funny that I was intimidated at first, and now find myself sometimes wanting to post more than one a day….so it has also become an exercise in restraint in a way…and often worth letting one stew for just one day more…but I might post a couple at a time…we’ll see…

          You should. A Dieu-A-Day would be a joy to read 🙂


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