Annmarie O'Connell is a recent graduate of New England College's MFA program in Henniker,
New Hampshire (USA). After working in social services, she decided to teach college writing.
She recently taught Composition and Speech to culinary students pursuing their associate's
degree in Chicago. Her work has appeared in Tygerburning Literary Journal and is forthcoming
in THRUSH Poetry Journal and The Rusty Nail.
When the cashier unexpectedly asks you
about the day you die,
his heart almost visible
like the trunk of the tree
in the long window,
you think of the man asleep
and hiding in the bushes across the street.
A person will always be talking or humming or getting tossed aside.
Someone will always be born empty-handed
into the dark of a hollow net.
My body is here but not for long.
The hours fly past me as I sit on the bench
next to the woman who talks so sweetly
to something in her deep purple bag.
You tell him
that at the exact moment of death,
At dusk, people are in a hurry
Some have dreams that slither into the dark
behind their eyes.
I wait on a cold bus stop
with an old man,
his two hands touching
a VFW hat that salutes
the harsh wind.
Out of nowhere,
I want to smear love
into the groove of his palms.
Sometimes you can see the light
turn on in things that are alive.
When the wind ripples
through the trees,
the man lying in a hospital bed
in his living room leans just out of reach
like he's feeling his way in the dark-
the holy strangeness of lavender and violet
looping across his window.
Every so often,
the sun streams through the vertical blinds,
his long body stretches out-
the brilliant warmth
trickles through him.
for the faces you love
their delicate bodies
inch by inch.
The man who lives without angels
hurriedly carries the young boy across 63rd street
and into the clinic.
At the same exact time as my sorrow,
a pure amber storm folds us over
then slowly tumbles across our bodies.
Disappointment brings tattered
things directly into light,
so we can feel the fallen
blossoms under our feet.
I think of you lying in the hospital,
stitched up and staring at the sides of buildings.
The flowers wither by the plastic Virgin Mary statue
you wanted by your side.
I think of you in a long, deep sleep.
The woman tipping your chin,
and how at just the right angle,
she can see drops of sea blue-green
in the folds of your eyes.
The woman gives up
a piece of her own body to lifts yours,
your arms swung so tightly
around her neck.
For every man tossed into a deep rooted grave,
two more get carried.
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