I’m excited to offer you the work of my friend and colleague Kelsi Hasden. Kelsi writes poetry on life. Love life, rage life, race life, gender life, and experiencing life. She is an adjunct instructor in Rhetoric and Composition in Jacksonville, Fl, and she adopts stray cats in her neighborhood. She has published in Bridge Eight magazine, worked as a managing editor for Fiction Fix, and writes and edits articles for Metro Jacksonville. Her poems below pivot on a common theme:
She told me they rolled you over
and then you took your last breath.
They looked at you in shock
in spite of knowing
that your time was drawing near.
I cried for over an hour
my face scrunched
in such anguish
that my forehead cramped.
I couldn’t get all the sobs out
the torrent of tears
At one point
I couldn’t tell
if I was crying
My tears weren’t falling
because you were so recently gone,
they fell because you were no longer
the you I had known in my childhood,
you hadn’t been for years,
but now that change was permanent
-an irrefutable fact-
you weren’t the pillar
that held up so many memories,
that carried so many years.
Old age had gathered you up in his fingers,
causing me to mourn your loss
She told me that you’re in a better place
that you aren’t suffering anymore
but I can’t get my head
wrapped around the fact
that you’re still gone,
as though you simply stood up
and walked out the front door.
silence all the telephones,
the televisions, the announcements,
stop all the callers,
hold your questions.
He is dead.
He is dead.
I see it everywhere
on license plates, billboard signs,
and in cloud formations.
The grass is quite a bit browner,
the air a bit drier.
His death has halted everything.
I can still feel his touch
I can still see his smile
I remember his voice
and it makes me shudder,
Together we sat watching the casket
Of our estranged grandfather.
He was very much alive
in our memories and our tears;
the smoky scent of his living room,
the dead grass in his garden,
his broken fence,
how quiet his laugh was compared to mine, dad’s, the family’s.
Our mourning was alive and present.
The Honor Guard performed
A Twenty One Gun Salute.
Each of our cousins received a shell casing
that was handed to them
by white gloved hands
as did our father and his siblings.
We two, were the only immediate family
who did not receive a spent shell
We did not have a hunk of golden metal
to hold in our hand
to soften our sadness
we sat off alone
as young girls with their grandfather.