November 30, “Lester, December 1,” from NOVEMBER: A Poem in 30 Days

 

IMG_2863

                Lester, December 1 

He had been up on his walker 
just the week before,
Thanksgiving, 
shuffling through the dining 
room, jones-ing for his TUMS 
antacid fix instead of turkey.

There was snowfall that weekend.
He stared outside, toward Chippewa Lake,
eyes fixed, as the black 
flickering shadow of the red 
cardinal danced on the white 
snow under the maple he planted 
when he built this house.

As the days followed, the walker
retired to the side of the bed,
Dad, resigned to slower breaths, slept.
As a boy I often begged him to make 
a muscle, so I could caress 
the hardball of his bicep.
Once, but only once, 
he playfully chased me 
across the side yard in Lodi, 
I was startled by his speed.

He was his mother's son for over 53 years.
That morning, very early, she called
our cousin on the Greenbrier,
she knew...she professed over the phone,
"something will happen today that will break my heart."

I got the call at my job, "coma...come now."
Mom waited for the priest who never arrived.
The ambulance came for duty and left before me.
He was gone.
"No parent should ever outlive her children," 
Granma wailed. She passed on before the need
to bury any others.

Parker's Funeral Home. 
An uncle gripped me in a hug.
He started to cry, but soundlessly.
I felt his fear, 
like the fabric of his dark suit jacket.
 
We put the rest of his TUMS
in his coffin.

 

excerpted from
NOVEMBER: A Poem in 30 Days
in memory of the last month of life of Lester C Coe (1925-1978)

About orangeacorn

We are, I believe, and everything is, in perpetual unfolding/enfolding/evolving. By surface appearances, we're in turmoil and fearfullness, but in fact our existence is on the edge of a new way, beyond the US versus THEM we have grown with. I encourage you to join me over coffee or tea in face-to-face encounters. I call this exercise, "CAFFEINE COMMUNION: Encounters with Paradigm Pioneers." I'm a Columbus, Ohio husband, father and citizen. I practice string band sounds from the ridges of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, the vortex of the ancient drone.
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