A Dying Man’s Last Breath

A DYING MANS LAST BREATH

A Dying Man’s Last Breath
As the ripe November moon rises
The not yet old man lays dying.
Not on his bed, nor on his floor,
Somewhere in between.
Discerning his last breath,
For only a moment, with gravity and importance.
Fragrant childhood fields of tiger lilies
Begin to bloom in his married room,
And the smell of old red and rotted barn doors.
Fantastic is the taste of a sweet and plump tomato,
Round and robbed right out of his mother’s garden.
The only background music,
A soft hum of Indianian wind through cattails.
Endless sunshine soaks his skin which now is filled with absolute youth.
Thousands of unreserved sunsets
That turn to a lifetime of coruscating evening skies.
66 years of first kisses grace his lips,
So does that bitter bathtub gin from senior prom.
Accomplishment arrives in his chest,
Inflating with words from his father, “I’m proud of you, son,”
Awakening in his fading ears.
Then he sees her.
In a form of remembered innocence,
With fiery hair
And a fiery soul that burned his taste for anyone else.
Anyone else but her.
Looking down, now dressed in his bridegroom clothes.
And her,
In a springtime of white and wonder.
Hearts hopeful with promise and eager to begin
His hands idle to build something.
A home.
Seemingly no time passes before she is quick with child.
And then he sees her.
With fiery hair
And a fiery soul that burned his adoration for anyone else.
Anyone else but her.
Feeding her watermelon with salt sprinkled on top
Just to watch her little nose crinkle.
The smell of fresh-cut, summer-kissed and dewy dawned grass
And her little toes.
How could anything ever be so tiny?
His arms warm with heavy bodies of wife and child.
A warmth that cascades
A warmth like a waterfall of tenderness over steep rocks of stoic features.
Seemingly no time passes and yet another miracle is delivered.
Then he sees her.
With fiery hair
And a fiery soul that burned his thanksgiving for anyone else.
Anyone else but her.
Pink satin swirling in his room,
His girls dancing in princess costumes.
His hair, now, a black and white photograph
As his girls all shine with vibrant hues of tenacity and resilience.
Flying and soaring over his perfectly manicured landscape
He planted over 100 pine trees,
His living picture frame proudly displaying what he had built.
Hands now lined, scarred, tattered and weak
As they grasp the bedside table in preparation for his last exhale.
His final act as a husband.
His final act as a father.
His final act as a man.
As millions of others have done before,
But not quite like him.
No, not quite like him at all.
He stood, so very tall,
Overlooking his kingdom,
On the sanded, stained and decades-old porch he built with his own two hands,
And the hands of his wife,
And the hands of his daughters.
Gentle snow or ash or princess glitter falls, tingling on his not yet old skin
As he smiles,
Welcoming the warmth of a new day.

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