—How terrible it is to love something
Death can touch.
I remember how father hunched
over our kitchen counter, the day
grandfather died, how bravely
he awakened to death, and the rooster’s
cries as this new dawn arose
seemed a substitute for his own,
or perhaps a duet I’d not yet known. Our house
was draped and laureled by noon. Too soon
we become our parents in a moment
we’d imagined with contemplative dread
as mother’s cottony wheezes replace
this memory in my head; and I
not near as brave as dad, inhale
the sickness of her room. A shadow
in the corner shifts and casts about its gloom.
I watch her gazing through her window
the finality of one last snow—
this is how we begin our end,
one by one our experiences go, and beyond
winter prepares a blank white canvas
for something new to grow.
Shawn Nacona Stroud’s poems have been published in several print and online publications, including Melancholy Hyperbole, The Legendary, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Loch Raven Review. His work has also won various poetry contests, including the IBPC.