Sent to me this morning by Dee Ledger, this remarkable poem speaks on so many levels.
Standing at her bedside, the nurse explains when a body dies,
the extremities begin to turn mottled.
Carefully, she slowly peels back the bed sheet.
Purple is the color of transformation,
first the toes, then a gradual progression across the torso.
I am reminded of the dappled darkness that dances each morning
across brown leaves nestled against my rain-soaked porch stoop
like baby mice.
In the distance, cattails bend heavy-hearted with the hot, steamy breeze
while cicadas drone on in the stillness.
All is movement.
When a body dies, the breath turns sweet and fruity,
like summer cantaloupe cut from its protective rind,
pungent with its promise, cool on the tongue.
The nurse swabs her lips with a lemon-flavored sponge,
And I think of a banyan, its tentacles
sent forth to grasp the ground, exposed roots
reaching into the same mottled darkness
as limbs yet branch and break
upwards through invisible layers of light.