The Summer of Dying

My mother died in June—
the summer the cicadas
came alive after seventeen years
and tumbled out of the sky
like enormous drops of rain
splattering on my windshield
as I drove home from the room
that contained her for the last time,
where I watched her disappear
without grace.
With indignity.
She would have hated
what we witnessed, what we saw—
the way death comes fast
even if it comes slow at first.
There’s the long incubation
where it settles in,
gets comfortable with its choice,
tests the victim’s wherewithal,
laughs at the lifetime of healthy choices
made with the intention
that this day would be postponed
after birth, for a century,
give or take a dozen years—
or even seventeen—
and it doesn’t matter
to the indifferent universe
that my mother had plans to become
a centenarian—
that her remaining 21 years
were excised in a second—
split apart
like the exoskeletons of Brood X
clinging to my trees, most of them empty,
some of them filled with the dead—
the ones who made it 17 years
underneath the humming world
but couldn’t emerge fully
into the final stage of life
to sing
the triumphant glorious last song.


Published by demarisgaunt

I currently live in Greenwood, Indiana. I love to listen to music, books on CD, podcasts or NPR as I work in my studio.  My favorite artists are Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. I love poetry, but only the good stuff that isn’t so abstract I can’t understand it. Abstraction better lends itself to visual art, I think. Stephen Dunn is my favorite poet. He’s said just about anything that can be said about the inner workings of the heart and mind. My favorite novel is Atonement by Ian McEwan. My all time favorite band is The Cure. I love science, and anything that relates to how the mind works. I don’t believe in the supernatural. If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be Richard Dawkins or Steven Pinker. If you don’t buy my art or read my poetry, buy one of their books. It will enrich if not change your life.  My favorite things to do are hiking, kayaking and camping. My favorite food is so common, I’ll keep you in suspense (It starts with a P). I prefer chocolate to vanilla. Green is my favorite color. I have an aversion to planning or scheduling of any kind, and I live for spontaneous adventures! Telephone conversations make me anxious, and I avoid them at almost all cost. I had a happy childhood. I’m having a pretty fantastic adulthood. I have every intention of seeing my 100th birthday, after which I will happily relinquish my guts to the future of medicine. Cheers! ~DeMaris

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