Joanna Zarkadas | The last lullaby

There is an etiquette to death

That is revealed to you by grace

As you stumble through

This unfamiliar territory

Of saying good-bye to someone

Far too young to be leaving this earth

 

There is the holding of hands

The caressing of arms and feet

The gentle stroking of a head

Now bald from the ravages of disease

And the singing of lullabies

 

There is the welcoming of friends

The holding of their sadness and fear in your arms

The leading them to the bedside

There is the cradling of their overflowing emotions as they leave

The mingling of their tears with yours

And the singing of lullabies

 

There is the feeding of ice chips

And tiny spoonfuls of jello

The wiping of spittle and drool

The rearranging of pillows

The changing of soiled sheets

And the singing of lullabies

 

There is the looking into eyes

That do not see you

The bending close to hear words barely uttered

The wondering if any of your words

Are bringing comfort or inspiration

And the singing of lullabies

 

There is the sweet kissing of fingertips

And the prickly stubble on a head once covered

With luxurious thick hair

There is the soft murmuring of words

That give permission to let go

And the singing of lullabies

 

There is the vigilant watching of each labored breath

Waiting for the next one

And hoping that it doesn’t come

And the singing of lullabies

 

And when there are no more breaths

You keep singing

Because you promised you would

Because you don’t know how to end the song

Because you don’t want to end the connection

 

One hand rests on the body already getting cold

The other on the mother  left behind by the daughter

Wailing her grief in enormous cries

That grow in power like mighty ocean waves

Building to huge heights before they crest

And whimper to the shore, over and over and over

 

And when she is spent

And weak with sorrow

There is silence

Everywhere

A deep stillness envelopes us

We are suspended in time

Frozen in our vignette

A stone sculpture

The last lullaby

omak-lake

          

 

 

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5 Responses to Joanna Zarkadas | The last lullaby

  1. Jody Ebling November 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    This poem moved me deeply. I first heard the poet read it at a gathering and I find that it touches me again as I read it here.

    • Joanna Zarkadas November 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Thank you, Jody! Hugs to you and Nico. Love, J

  2. Lee Marquis November 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Your words leave a very deep imprint upon my heart. Tears streaming down my face as I wonder why you are not yet famous. Please put your poetry into a book.

    • Joanna Zarkadas November 5, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      Thank you, Lee. I’m working on getting a book together. :) Love, J

  3. Shelly Renae Huffman November 18, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    This poem moves me deeply. Tears of empathy keep flowing. What an inspired talent you have! Blessings on your book of poetry that brings blessings to others. Love ❤️

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