Tall kissed-out pale fronds of potted ferns
Adorn the entry, their cool shadows dim
Switching the parlor — — death’s last living room — —
Where time hesitates and dark furnishings
Project inarguable dignity.
Bookended by brass casket handles, lids
Too heavy to be raised again must sense
My presence, those defiant eyes I closed,
Who parsed my childish alibis, whose last
Wink nicked the priest, who forced death to hold still
Till her eyes sent light leaping into mine.
My sister lives forever in six drawers
Where Mom maintains her clothing, worn, outgrown.
Preserved in cameras, she’s chambered,
Sealed shut like darkroom prints, unmoving face
Still undeveloped as her unspent youth.
Moored on his island of bad memories,
Her boyfriend, claiming self-defense, wears stripes.
Nighttime she’s back, soft stabled in seizures
Of stars or hovering in ghost orb’s mist.
A pinch of lonely air lifts blankets, hugs
Half of my bedding. No heat radiates.
The younger person I still am inside
Peers out. Instead of ghost dents on the sheets,
I see her shuffling the deck, smell smoke
From phantom joints, red lipsticked, decayed dreams
Beyond my line of sight, time’s taut trapeze.
I yearn to grab her wrist, yank heart and soul
From cold oblivion, yell, “Breathe again!”
Hope hops on life support, prepared to drag
Her from the brink and storm the underworld.
Geometry’s shades fade — — by dawn’s dispersed.
The Uninvited Guest
With measured strokes, I brushed defiant hair,
Cascading waves that cancer left untouched.
You’d had enough of hospitals, that lack
Of privacy, imagining your home
Serene, secure, free from intrusive pests.
It would shock you to learn we’re not alone.
At dawn, the presence by the sills crispens,
Emerges as the drapes inhale into
A phantom shape. Infernal company,
Omniscient brakeman, timer in cold hands,
Poised, waiting, exhalations nearly through.
Lost in the territory of morphine,
Deciding to eject your breathing tubes,
You tossed away the life-saving device.
Asleep, I’m unaware — — till ghost commands
Arouse me full awake. There’s no choice but
To go rescue you, reconnect the air.
Long shadows darken the stairs, that peek-a-boo
Behind the hooded cloak. I startle you,
Attaching oxygen’s feed properly,
Removing you tonight from danger’s ledge.
A grimace rises from the bedding’s edge
© 2019, LindaAnn LoSchiavo
LindaAnn LoSchiavo, a Native New Yorker, is a dramatist, writer, and a poet who writes formal verse.
Her poetry chapbooks Conflicted Excitement (Red Wolf Editions, 2018) and Concupiscent Consumption (Red Ferret Press, 2020) along with her collaborative book on prejudice (Macmillan in the USA, Aracne Editions in Italy) are her latest titles.