Last Request






Last Request

 

As I stood at your bedside

I didn’t focus on how thin you’ve gotten

or the few months you have left.

I thought about how much you look like Grandma,

with her walnut complexion

cheekbones

same dorsum of the nose,

smile, like a quarter crescent moon,

her, reed thin and 18,

birthing you at home,

her biggest baby, at nine pounds,

hot towels around her waist to steam you out.

I tried to picture you sitting on her lap,

her slathering your hands with molasses and handing you a feather

to keep you laughing and busy

through her cooking and cleaning.

Sorry it took us a couple of minutes

to find 1 Kings so we could read along

and that we didn’t know the story of Elijah,

but we understand its point, your point, that

you have accepted God’s will.

But before you are taken up to heaven

in the chariot of fire,

I am hoping you will let me, us, in.

Share some more stories of your Kentucky childhood

the bigness/smallness/warmth/draftiness of the houses you all lived in,

how much you teased Mommy or protected her from the pranks of

my three other uncles,

Grandfather’s sober moments,

if he gave hugs or sage advice,

before Grandma wearied of the drinking, gambling, constant evictions,

left for New York to make a fatherless home for six,

what it was like

to be man of the house at the age of 12,

your studies at Cooper Union,

your time in the Army,

why you choose lifelong bachelorhood and gave your life over to the Lord.

I hope there are a few of your drawings left to salvage

from your shopping cart. I promise, we will find it soon.

In the meantime, please, let us in.

 

 Carla M. Cherry
 
 
 
Carla M. Cherry has been published in Anderbo, For Harriet, Obscura, Dissident Voice, Random Sample Review, Eunoia Review, MemoryHouse Magazine, Down In The Dirt, In Between Hangovers, Picaroon Poetry, and Firefly Magazine. She has published three books of poetry with Wasteland Press: Gnat Feathers and Butterfly Wings (2008), Thirty Dollars and a Bowl of Soup (2017), and Honeysuckle Me (2017).
 
 

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