Poetry by Candace Howze
When death comes
to drain the last vapor of oxygen
from a body, it does not ask for an address
to send the flowers.
I waited for them, imagined the petals
blackened and dry—exactly a dozen—
a crisp cold notecard
inscribed with an apology.
I am scattered as the leaves of September.
Gather me under an aged walnut,
trace your fingers
where my serrated edges and bruised veins
are weak. Rake the despair from the underside
of my memory and decompose it.
I am bending from the wind,
feel like God dropped his colors on the mountainsides
of Virginia and made me:
an ever-changing forest,
crafted from broken twigs of time that I mold
into words and fold within the pages
of recycled Moleskin books.
I am restless from the autumn.
Death has interrupted our hope of a resurrection
and now we leave knowing there is no
going back. Meanwhile, I will blow away,
corrode into clay,
slip through the motions.
It is fine.
If we ever gather here again remember all that we are,
bury the burden, keep going.
We will be a new leaf—turned over—the old season
time is tucking the unseen
into flipbooks of the brain
and one day
they will fall dead behind eyelids
with the dead. silence
in a still grave.
let it rest or it will rumble
through loosely woven generations
who bare teeth and cough chuckles at family gatherings
just to appear one. God forbid
the widow discovers what her daughter
has done—of which there is no word for.
time is ticking and it moves
slower in the end
than the beginning. and the unseen
sucks an empty bosom
looking for life.
Candace Howze is a freelance writer and multimedia artist based in North Carolina. Her work is published in Glass Poetry Press, Yellow Chair Review, The Huffington Post, CRWN Magazine, and more. She is the author of the chapbook Letters About Losing You and hosts Meraki Mentors podcast.