Tag Archives: death



At it again
the trees are greening
defiant of the chill wind
and dusting of snow

In their stripped state
brown and still
they can pass for dead
or dying

They bend under
weighted down
or pushed hard
by pitiless nature

I’ve seen her like that
so gray and wooden
I’m certain she’ll snap
and plummet irrevocably

I hold my breath
and my grief
remember the forest
and dream of one more spring


Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 12


Advance Directive – or Reuse, Reduce, Recycle



Take my heart,
if they deem it worthy,
my lungs and liver.
Use my kidneys and eyes.
Slice up my brain
and look at the lacy lesions.
Learn, study, save people if you can.

After tissue is taken,
cremate what remains.
Dispose of my ashes
somewhere lovely.
Mix me into the earth to plant a tree.
Sprinkle me in a stream.
Scatter me in the woods where I liked to hike.
Heck, you can divide me up,
have people use my ash
to condition their garden soil
or scare off raccoons.
I don’t care how,
just make use of what is left of me.

If my hardware survives the reduction,
Andrew has requested intact bits —
screws and such —
so he can save himself a dime,
…fix a railing
…build a bookshelf.

I don’t want a headstone
in some tended graveyard.
If anything, I’d rather have a bench
placed somewhere helpful
that people can rest on.
I care not about
some lasting memorial.
If it gives other people comfort,
let them do what they must.
It is all about them now.

…But, shield yourself with my stated preferences
if folks become disagreeable and argue.
They might get prickly
as they work through their feelings
about me being gone.
Be patient with them.
Remind them this is just another day
to the universe;
what matters most is kindness.

Please have a party with really good music.
Make an awesome playlist,
let guests take it home as a party favor.
Please dance. Eat cookies.
Read some poetry.
Tell everyone how much I loved them.
Folks should hug a lot.
Real hugs, long and warm.
Let them laugh.
I loved it when they laughed.

Encourage people to come dressed how they want,
in whatever makes them feel their best and happiest.
They should arrive looking like their favorite selves —
ball gowns or business suits,
sports shorts or yoga pants,
unicorn-barfing-rainbow costumes.
Tell them I wish they’d dress like this all the time.
They are gorgeous
just as they want to be.

Ask people to do something randomly nice
for someone that day.
And maybe on some other days, too,
if they happen to think of me.

Assure them I will always be there
when they are dancing
or singing or playing music
or writing something meaty that they care about.

Maybe go outside.
Strike that. Definitely go outside.
Look at the sky.
Look at the trees.
The world is really pretty.
Tell them I’m part of that now
and I’m delighted by that notion.

And please remind everyone
about how much I enjoyed the ride.
As messy and hard as it often was,
it was amazing.
I’m grateful
I got to experience every painful
and blissful bit of it.

Thank them. Thank them for everything.
They were the ones
that made my life so very extraordinary.

Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 5


Softly, Bloom



Once, I had my mouth wired shut for six weeks post surgery on my jaw.
That same week, my dad, David, died.
While I grieved for my father, I struggled with exhaustion,
bone-deep pain, and crippling headaches – byproducts of loss
of parent and solid nutrition.

My brother-in-law, David, came to visit near the end
of my oral-binding phase.
Seeing me gaunt and pale, he asked
what taste I most missed.
I said cookies. Chocolate chip. My dad’s favorite.

David, ever the hospitable, who delighted in discovering
a person’s favorite foods, searching out the best
recipe, practicing a perfect version, and serving
this culinary gift when he next saw you,
was a great amateur chef, but not much of a baker.

Undaunted, he went to the grocery store and purchased
tubes of raw cookie dough, baked up a batch of gooey, undercooked,
heartbreakingly delicious chocolate chip dotted gobs of love
and told me to break off tiny pieces, slip them between my banded
teeth and let them rest on my tongue. Dissolve.

The only thing that possibly could have surpassed the delightfulness
of the taste of my father’s favorite treat at that moment was the sweetness
of my brother-in-law’s thoughtful creativity.

When this kind David, at age 47, suddenly died of a brain aneurysm several years later,
I tattooed a lotus on my wrist. Now each time I extend my right hand and reach out,
I see embedded in the flower’s shape, its flat bottom then arch of petals,
a D, and am reminded of my Davids, and the rare beauty and sweetness
that can grow from the murkiest and darkest of sources.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 21



Climate Changed


imageShe decided to breathe on only odd-numbered days.
A conservation strategy to help the planet and herself
waste less energy expanding and contracting her lungs,
taking in all that good oxygen from around her,
and with every exhale,
replacing it with damaging carbon dioxide.

She briefly wondered if anyone would notice her blue periods,
which would necessarily be punctuated by silence,
as all words are mostly made of air.

Her undertaking was short-lived, as was she.

And she never did learn that no one noted the loss of her words,
or of her.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 19


eggs in one basket



all the talk of rolling stones
resurrection and baskets
bunnies and eggs
spotless white robes
wrapping the grief
while the ham cooks
and the house smells of potatoes

the sun angles
to reveal every perfection
while she mourns bonnets
and parades
parading in general
thankful grass remains ritualized
though modernized
paper or plastic

she’s hiding things now
watching the search
with yearning
the taste of pear on tongue
posed on the cement stair
holding fixed chocolate smiles
planning nose to neck naps
that can only end with waking

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 5


They Didn’t Die


Before she’d open the door
she would hook their small chests
into harnesses
attach leashes
and hold tightly
as she turned the knob

The boys would push past
her tanned legs
wild horses stampeding
a canyon of calves and knees
They would rush into the day
pulling her slight form along
as she strained to hold
their two years of energy
multiplied by two

She was 21
hair a silk river
running to her waist
hands perfectly shaped
to hold guitars and paint brushes
She would sometimes clip
the boys’ leashes to a clothesline
strung across the back patio
allowing the straight-haired boy
to sift and toss sand in a box
while the blonde one
with hazel eyes
drove big trucks full of blocks
nearer the wall

The neighbors stood behind
sheets of glass
and called the authorities
outraged by the restraints
muttering accusations of abuse
so an officer was dispatched
to speak to the mother

He couldn’t talk to the father
who had died
the night the boys were born
a drunk driver preventing him
from ever seeing his children
holding their impossibly tiny
preemie bodies
knowing one had curly hair
and darker eyes like him
the other matching the mother
browns and blues

The father never got to open
a single door for them
watch as they rushed out
all exhuberance
toward every hazzard
every wonder

September 2014
Julie Ayers