Only Now


You sit there
in the room with them
when the spirits escape
their earthly shells
upon a final exhalation.
And you gasp, your breath
catching in your throat,
perhaps to capture,
your last chance to share
life with them.
But you do not cry.

You stand there,
as the family says
their finally goodbyes
before the priest
puts away his book,
with a solemn “Amen,”
a wholly holy punctuation
ending this latest story as
holy water runs down
the casket’s cheeks.
But you do not cry.

You hug and say your
goodbyes, because
you know you won’t see
most of your lucky
lachrymose brethren
until the next of you
flies and falls. You
really don’t want to,
because you’re supposed
to be the strong one.
And you do not cry.

Then you go home
to your lonely place,
where you tend all
their memories
like you would adorn
their gravesides, only
upon these pages,
written in this ink
almost none have
ever seen, only read.
Only now do you cry.

A poem written hard, fast and free in my alleged easy chair. It’s based on a prompt from my friend Kellie Elmore: Write about the last time you cried. I’ve had too much reason and opportunity in my life of late to shed tears, but didn’t. Not then. Now you know when I did.

3 thoughts on “Only Now

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