Tag Archives: Death

Cancer Center

The waiting room
is without warmth—
grays and blues
and faces
lined with concern
sallow with fear
some of them
seeking answers
some of them
wringing their hands
with a knowledge
they hope
to radiate away
and it’s hard to tell
the difference
the body language
of the sick
and those
who are writhing
for their loved one
to become a ghost.







With the Dead

It’s a cold night
almost Christmas
and I am wishing
it would all
be over
when I find myself
stuck in traffic
driving slow
to the ancient
iron fencing
between me
and the cemetery
and I pull in
as if someone
is calling my name
from behind
the skeleton trees
and I follow
the narrowing road
to its logical
dead end
and I kill the engine
and step out
to touch the granite
that are so heavy
with what it means
to be crushed
by an accumulation
of days
and I lay down
on the earth
beside a man
named Jim
who died in 1913
and then I stare
at the moon
as if it could answer
the question
of how to feel






It’s you again
keeping me awake
keeping me from sleep—
that place I no longer dream of you.
It’s not that I’m annoyed— no.
I’m never bothered by your visits
or the way you distract me
or interrupt my task.
What worries me is the way
you dissolve over time—
the way you leave me
alone more often now.
I have loved to be lost
in the comfort of your memory
but I fear one day
I will forget to remember you.


DeMaris Gaunt


Of all the poems I’ve written, this one is probably my favorite. It reflects the many times I’ve contemplated the death of my youngest, who has various health problems. I often wonder if it might be offensive. No doubt some mothers won’t agree with the sentiment here. But I see life as beautiful not because it’s smooth and easy (it’s mostly that), but because it can be so damn hard. And how happy would you be if your heart had never been broken, scattered and rearranged?  Have a listen.



The childless mother
wants to be alone on Mother’s Day
to stare out the window
into the world she no longer shares
with the little boy, who long ago,
brought her glistening dandelions
bursting from his little brown hand
and decorated her hair
with the yellow joy of life—
treasures collected after a storm
turned the earth to mud.
That day wasn’t Mother’s Day—
but it’s the one she remembers
on the second Sunday each May
when she’d give anything to go back
and withdraw the reprimand
for the traces of mud he left
on his way to make her smile.


DeMaris Gaunt


Sometimes it’s rain
or the swimming pool
in your neighbors backyard.
Often it’s the size
of a river in the little cup
beside your bed
which you accidentally
knock over in the night
as you adjust your pillow.
With unmistakable transparency
you know it wants you back—
luring you to the warm ocean
of a bathtub
where it could drown you dead
if you slipped under
and agreed to recycle yourself—
returning to its possession
most of what you are.


DeMaris Gaunt