After I saw your fingers whiten & slacken then felt your pulse slow & flatten then sensed the warmth of your arm ebb, I exited your hospice room into that cold October wind to cry alone or maybe with Jesus. I observed the yellows, oranges, reds of a beautiful bullshit sunset over northwest Arkansas & pretended I watched your soul ascending, but it was probably just a floater in my eye or a gaggle of bats, maybe even a mylar balloon escaped from some brat’s birthday to choke out a stupid sea turtle 600 miles away. My grief embryonic without shape not yet stillborn I felt like a freshly paroled convict toeing gravel just outside the gates with nowhere/everywhere in the big awful dusking world to go & I wanted you to know so you haunt me for that feeling plus the one that brought me here for you.
James Swansbrough runs a restaurant equipment repair company in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His work has appeared in Split Rock Review, Cagibi, Freshwater Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, Free State Review, Watershed Review, and others. He was named Honorable Mention for the 2019 Yeats Poetry Award by the WB Yeats Society of New York. He lives in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, with his wife and daughters, who tend an organic rainbow glitter farm.