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Joanna Chen

Joanna Chen | Rain after crash

It rained this weekend, the first rain of the year, causing the trees in my garden to dance and twinkle with happiness, probably my happiness. The rain came at the end of a bad week. A neighbor was killed in a car crash on the road below my village. If you stand on her terrace, as I did the day after she died, you can see the road snaking along, […]

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Sylvia Ashby | Dead letter

Dead letter Last week I sent a get well card to my father in the nursing home. On Saturday the card returned to me stamped DECEASED. I understand, now, this was a clerical error; they simply had his named misspelled, reversed the “i” and “r” in the business office file. But now I also understand no one ever just leaves the nursing home: They don’t have rubber stamps for MOVED […]

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Diane Giardi

Diane Giardi | Selected poems

Even in death, mobility (New York Times headline, Oct. 25th, 2011) Even in death there is movement. The soul kayaks out, spirit climbs the Stairmaster, vision hang-glides, perception, reception, bungee-jumps, senses dance, a final drum song. Even in death, action. Forces transpire, take hold, transform, manifest. The heart still stirring, brain still carrying remains of vitality, now transmitting, dematerializing, dissolving into a sacred, intangible world. Even in death ethereal ripples. […]

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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 […]

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