Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol.21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Visit

I’ve had three close friends—
John, Alan, and Ghita
who are no longer alive

and now such friendships won’t
come to me again, which I don’t
mind, but I can tell you that

I was too many miles away to hear
John’s last hours of speaking
or to attend his funeral. But yes,

each day I wheeled Ghita where
she could smoke, in the gazebo, but
then she weakened and lost consciousness.

Then later at the hospice where Alan
was spending his last days, I came
to his room, sat at his bedside,

and talked softly into his easy
silence. I told him the times
I’d spent with him were among

the happiest of my life, and
I talked with him about John
and Ghita who’d been his friends,

too, but then I saw Alan’s breathing
going slower and slower, so I raised
my eyes and looked across his bedside

and out the window to watch the sparrows
and finches in sunlight at their feeder.

The silence went on for what seemed long hours,
but I knew that wasn’t it: I was being
allowed to see the chamber I would enter soon,

and though I was in no hurry about it,
I was nevertheless glad to know such
light and stillness existed and would

wait for me.  

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