Tag Archives: death

New Angels

Is there pity,
or wonder,
or both,
in a new angel’s first glimpse
of earth
looking back?

Does the blue globe pull its tides
on the angel heart?
Do the clouds reach outward
to catch at the white feathers?

Are the tears heard?
The shouts into the darkness?
The songs rising?
The catch in the throat?

Or is there at last,
and only,
the peace of silent space
and the Almighty beckoning?

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Octpowrimo Day 3: Death Metal

Death like metal in the window darkness stood waiting.

The weary man’s midnight sigh gone
in cough struggle, lapsing to stillness, let go.

And stars go along, eurekas go along
with the concert lights snapping off, one by one.
Memory of dashboards, bar jukes, basement stereo lights.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Octpowrimo Day 2: The Half-gone Ghost of Tom Petty

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty
and the boy
who sang him to me
in the small tired
hours before Iowa’s gray light
came over the edge of the window:
“It’s all right if you don’t”

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty.
Come around here some more.
The storm’s not breaking
and you won’t get out of Gainesville
with or without wings.

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty
and the boy
in the corduroy pants
who tore him back to me
in the hope light
of a prairie morning.
“It’s all right if you do.”

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty.
Let us wreck you,
break you,
run you down,
stand your ground,
not back you down.

The dark’s not breaking
and you will not get out of LA
with or without wings.

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty.
We’re getting you lucky
We’re taking you on faith.
We are belonging you in the wildflowers.
And we run with you
until the end of the line.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Perpetua in Carthage

I, who found the door of death
with light forever
on the other side.

I, Perpetua in Carthage.

I, martyr to dust.

I, traveler with slaves
to beasts.

I, rejecter of the babe
my father brought
aching for my breast,

asking me:

“Do you see the space
where you will not be?”

I who was silent.

He asked me:
“What can this space be called by?”

I, who answered:
“I cannot be called anything
other than what I am.”

I, who dreamt of the serpent
I, who dreamt of my slave sisters
I, who dreamt of fighting my way
through the dark door into the light.

I, who brought Felicity singing
to the wild heifer.

I, whose collarbone caught
the executioner’s knife.

I, who caught his hand
and drew the knife
through my neck.

I, who would not be denied.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Touch some part of me
while we wait for my soul
to be taken and crushed
like petals for scent.

I will neither enter
nor leave the room again.

Each moment
is a snowflake transforming
into a waterdrop
on a green leaf.

The border to the next land
is invisible to the naked eye
music is the only map.

I have walked away
without a word of goodbye.

You must stay on
counting the barks of distant dogs
and the songs of the souls
needing bodies.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Memento Mori

On Wednesdays and Thursdays
I take the 7 bus home
after dark.

We pass by a funeral home
and every night
I look through the window
and see a small arc of lamplight,
an empty sofa,
and a box of tissue

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Bury His Heart

Bury his blue heart
in the soft earth
below the hydrangeas
of his grandmother’s garden.

Bury his white heart
in snowfields, white snow sky,
and blizzards blowing down.

Bury his gold heart
in shimmer light
of the birch trees along
the shortcut
we took every day that Fall.

Bury his green heart
in the fresh alfalfa
and August corn,
wet with morning,
sharp-edged and lush.

Bury his brown heart
in the fallow fields of November
spare and patient
as he was.

Bury his silver heart
in the summer stars.

But bury his red heart
with us.

Copyright Kay Winter

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What Matters: Like It Or Not

What matters,
like it or not,
is that the world comes at us
without warning.

It finds us without our asking,
without our worrying and wailing
as we dry the dishes
or wait for the bus.

Like it or not,
the tips of our fingers
are as good a way to hang on
as any other.

Like it or not,
the world looks at you
the way your child does,
clear-eyed and expectant.

Like it or not,
you also have to eat
what is in front of you.

What matters,
like it or not,
is that everything that is beautiful
fades, falls, and breaks.

(We have, we do, we will.)

(It doesn’t matter.)

Like it or not,
this is the road we are on
because this is the way to the garden,
though the days in the garden
are long past.

Like it not not,
you have to get up now,
the bell is ringing,
the clouds are flying
across the morning sky,
and the tide has pulled itself
away from shore.

Like it or not,
the world spins around
and the people who were here,
are someplace else now,
and who you used to be,
is gone as well.

Like or not,
we are all a little bit lost
but always where we should be.
Like it not,
here we are,
on our knees in the dark,
wiping our eyes,
wiping our noses,
trying to make a deal,
even though we are the ones
who blew the house down.

Like it not,
life and death are both thieves.

Like it or not,
it doesn’t matter,
that what they steal,
they keep better for us
than we could keep for ourselves.
But they both promise,
(this is what matters),
they promise to give it back.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Uncertain Weather

We met when we were uncertain weather
and unfound lucky pennies.

An uncertain season
of rain through sun,
and smooth gray clouds lingering
low in the sky.

I did one certain thing.

I left you behind.

You, not strong enough for what was coming.
(Or was it me, sparing myself
the trouble of you.)

The weather this winter
blows sleet
over the bare trees of the park
I see from my window
(my only).

Years ago, before I knew you,
before I had to think of you,
I spent a year of Novembers
waiting in that park,
reading The House of Seven Gables
by streetlight,
while crows circled high in the pale air.

Now, from this window,
(my only)
I see the same crows,
settling in the dark empty windows
of the chapel across the green.

I leave the window open
to let the sound of the wind
drown out the drip of time.

I ask this:

When my crow comes
and settles on the sill
and speaks my bright simple name,
let me step over,
from do, to having done, to being over it.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Ashes too long held perhaps disappear
like subtle movement of dew to air or
stone grains beneath the rain’s dislike.
Mortar cracks in the wall
around the last empty place you saw me.

– Kay Winter

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