Friday, April 1, 2011

Charon, navigator of death, considers Craig’s List.

At the end of life
your bits don’t die simultaneously.  
They drop out of the race one by one
by one
without even a backward glance. 

A brain cell here, now a few in the femoral artery—
the liver, the kidney, the left great toe. 
You scan your approaching horizon
for any whole thing to hold onto. 
Each piece of you slips away
like the California coastline. 
What will be left?

Your remaining inventory—
(gleaming granite countertops, burgeoning bookshelves,
the fridge and the car and the book full of dreams)
all wave goodbye from an outgoing train carrying
your medulla oblongata, the regulation of the heart—
—your name.

Quickly now, what’s left?
What’s to show from this life you so lately lived?
What can be salvaged from the ragged breath
that slows


starts insincerely
and then

slows again…
                 Rhonda Palmer


  1. Rhonda, this is amazing work. I appreciate the poem eversomuch - as I squint to read the words. The charon and craig's list references are almost beyond my kin... I really like the heart picture too. At first, I thought it was a vegetable.

  2. My dad was afraid of dying. I really connect with that dying bit by bit, that was the way it was for him, so that by the time he died he didn't have any fears anymore. I really like the rhythm of the poem slow - fast - slow . . .