I Drag His Death After Me

I drag his death after me, its details

a kind of communion, taking him in

day after day, him becoming my body,

my blood, I becoming his, we are

co-mingled in a way that would not

be allowed if he were alive. I remember

the phone call from the embassy, my No,

your face, the airport, our questions,

the one red gladiola smashed in the center

of the courtyard at the morgue. I remember

us alone in the dark room, him out of the box,

wrapped in starched white swaddling that your

hand reached to uncover, then stopped. We

stood over our boy like Mary and Joseph

in the manger, as if he were a new baby

blessedly fresh to the world. But it was his

death that was new, that we crooned to,

his death a presence in the room like some

terrible gift, that would be opened again

and again, that never stopped giving, only

we didn’t know that then, we didn’t know

how we would bring it home, where we

would put it, how we would live with this

present, how we continue to.

— Sharon Charde

 


Sharon Charde is a psychotherapist, writing teacher, and poet. She is published widely in journals and anthologies and has won many awards for her poetry, including fellowships to MacDowell, VCCA and VSC, and seven Pushcart nominations. She has won first prize for three chapbooks, Bad Girl at the Altar Rail, Four Trees Down from Ponte Sisto, and Incendiary; honorable mention for After Blue; and had a full-length collection, Branch In His Hand, made into a radio drama by the BBC and broadcast in 2012. She works with delinquent girls and has published a collection of their poetry, I Am Not A Juvenile Delinquent.

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