Flamenco at the Thirsty Bear. Jim Gunshinan

About Jim Gunshinan

 • The Artificial Heart
 • Heroes
 • Geography Lessons
 • Blue Cornflowers
 • Living by Water
 • Upon This Rock
 • The Man Dad Brought
    Home from the War
 • Physics
 • Black and White
 • Not the Mom We Were
    Used To
 • Nothing Sacred
 • Spring
 • Transformation
 • Please Straighten That Up
 • Up from Depression
 • What the Body Wants
 • Compassion
 • Commute
 • Kiss Me
 • Starter Castles
 • Flamenco at the Thirsty
 • A Nature Poem
 • Portrait of a Woman from
   the Gardens of Egypt in the
   First Century




You smelled damp on the afternoon you died
like something growing in the dark; like mushrooms.
And your forehead was cool where my lips touched.
I whispered, “Mom, don’t be afraid. Let go.”

The nurse loosened the plastic mask
with the rubber band from around your neck
laying it on the soft flat rise of flesh
between your breasts and throat.

From lungs flooded with water, you brought up
a few rattling breaths and then stopped.
The look on your face at the moment of death:
peaceful, calm, serene.

I imagine the same look
as you watched each of your six children
being baptized. And other scenes:
the sad blue bathrobe you wore on Mondays

your cleaning day; the delight you took
talking about Pope John and Vatican II
or laughing out loud while reading
The World According to Garp.

And the black silences when I wondered—
a boy eager to please you—what I had done.
It was never something I did.
Your storms were your storms.

I saw light in your face the day you died
light coming
as from the stillness
below the wave-speckled surface of a lake.

  © Jim Gunshinan, 2013


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