She Told Me a Secret

February 5, 2008
By Tony Flesher, Iowa City, IA

I don’t know anything about death.
I’ve heard there is a final heave.
Supposedly, everything stops, and, after a minute or so, there it is.
Like lightning, the body makes a last jolt upward and then settles.

I’ve imagined the old woman, my grandmother, doing this and
her eyes open up and a light flashes within her and she sucks in all this air and her daughters gasp and suddenly it’s over again.
Some cruel joke god plays, or the flickering of a light switch, or maybe
(I like to think) the soul is being lifted, but
The cold stink of hospital rooms, and the way she used to dance even at seventy-eight:
These things do not jive.

I’ve seen her in my dreams, in the words of my mother, in her old room in our house more times than I know.
But I cannot piece her death into the fine bright rays of light that were her life.
But like I said, I don’t know anything about death.

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