Panorama of San Bernardino

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Last Time I Saw You

The last time I saw you
you were in your casket.
A mortician went over you with makeup.
You didn't look like you.

The last time I really saw you
was three days earlier.
You were watching a movie,
too tired to play cards.

We didn't need to speak,
we talked in our heads.
I could read the thoughts
in your blue eyes.

Take care of your mother
your eyes said.
It's almost time.

After I told the paramedics to stop.
After I let you go with one word.
"Should we go on?" they asked.
"No," I replied.

We had to wait for two hours
for the coroner to come
and take your body away.

And I remember,
at least I think I remember,
standing outside in the cool Riverside air
tears running down my face.

Or is that something
created in my head?
I'm not sure.

Maybe I did nothing.
Maybe I went to sleep.
And awoke the next day to begin
the planning and preparations.

What I remember most
is going to the cemetery in Ontario
to pick out your headstone.
You were cremated.

And your ashes would end up
under the headstone I paid for
with my American Express card.

Mom insisted on writing her name
on the headstone next to yours
with her year of death unwritten.
I thought it was creepy.

But I didn't have the heart to fight.
You would have wanted it that way.
No more arguments.

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