I wanted to write this poem since 7th grade, when my grandmom passed away. I wrote it in my head for years before I had the courage to put pen to paper.
At the Mercy of our Heartbeats
There, she lay, on the floor,
Lifeless and cold,
She is sleeping in a slumber,
Deeper than it appears,
She is blue, but pacified,
She has transcended life and death, our ineluctable fears.
I enter the sea of unfamiliar faces,
The only familiar one at a loss to look at me,
They envelope me in embraces,
But I am not even tearing,
My face of wonder outlandish, in a sea of mourning faces.
The race at its climax,
Destiny passes the baton,
Something changes in that moment,
Death’s victory foregone.
My mother and aunt enter,
their tears breaking their shoulder,
their mother on the floor
never looking a day older.
She locks me in her arms,
“It’s alright love, death is a part of life”
I smile feebly,
My mind in a sudden strife.
“She is dead,” I say aloud,
Hoping for it to sink in
The realization of her loss,
A starving lion’s teeth in a zebra’s skin.
“But she is here ma, she is here,”
“Love, her heart doesn’t beat,
she is abandoned by her pulse,”
wide-eyed I say, “maybe if we entreat?”
I couldn’t digest the change
That had occurred within her,
She looked the very same yesterday,
The claws of death nowhere near.
What changes when one dies?
What leaves the body?
Where are all her smiles and cries,
Where is her living glory?
I live at the mercy of my heartbeat,
Although I never stop to think
If it skips a moment,
It takes away everything.
Love, religion and belief stand powerless,
When the soul escapes me,
Does one suffer at death?
Or are you set free?
Why do we measure life in time,
When the end is certain,
Like the epilogue of a play
And the drop of the red curtain.
She is gone for years now,
Her body dust,
Her soul, the thief of her life,
My own, devoid of my trust.
I live on the time of my heart,
And thoughtlessly call it freewill,
Clay to clay is my destiny,
I am my soul’s last kill.