Memory and Mortality

Memory and Mortality

A Poem by James O'Rourke

She remembers her father hoisting her up

Onto his broad shoulders

So she could reach the peaches

In the tree out in the backyard


Uncle Rubin's magical stones

From the beaches of Argentina

She would admire their beautiful colors

And cup them in her hands

Believing she could feel the warmth

Of the South American sun


Her first kiss

Tommy Rickman from up the street

She puckered her lips, shut her eyes

And felt a peck of chapped skin on her cheek

Upon her eyes opening

She found no sign of Tommy

Just the tik-tak of rain

On the bus stop awning


The feel of her mother's wedding dress

On the day she bound herself to a mailman from Shreveport

The white fabric had held three generations of women

Steady and graceful

Through the brutal heat of July


But now she lays in bed

The volumetric pump next to her head

Ticking and whirring as it pushes fluid into her arm

It beeps and someone comes to change her IV

The nurse smiles down at her

Rubbing her aching knuckles and dry loose skin


The woman, now old and frail

Stares out the window every day

Watching as the sun lights the trees

Revealing the small birds as they come and go

Patching up their nests and feeding their hatchlings


And as the sun slowly sets

She begins to worry

Will she know where she is tomorrow?

Unsure of the answer she wonders

If she will recall not just where but who she is


She glances at the window

Seeing that the world has gone dark

Realizing that all that is seen

Is merely a reflection of the room


Taking a deep breath she closes her eyes

And is taken softly into a dream

© 2016 James O'Rourke


Author's Note

James O'Rourke
Trying for character building. Let me know if she needs more life breathed into her. All comments and criticisms welcome.

And as always, thanks for reading!

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Reviews

I think this is a great poem, James. It takes us from childhood to the end in such a concise, beautiful way. I can also see the lesson in this poem that all of our lives are bound to change sort of like hers, in both disappointing and good ways. You asked if she needed more life breathed into her, but I must say I feel as though I know her, so I definitely feel the life in her. It also makes me happy that, in how I'm interpreting it (maybe this is your intended meaning, but I'm not a hundred percent sure), she is dying when she "is taken softly into a dream." It actually makes me feel a bit calm about death when you describe it as going into a dream. Good work, James. Really like it.

Posted 5 Years Ago



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Added on January 19, 2016
Last Updated on January 19, 2016

Author

James O'Rourke
James O'Rourke

Tempe, AZ



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