Death is a wind that will carry you off 

sometime before the following dawn. 

It may start with a lake-scented draft 

from the cane break behind the house, 

or a breeze through an open door 

filling your nostrils with your  

mother's party perfume: White Gardenia. 

Rolling over your body like a North Pacific wave: 

the remembering, bringing the end of time. 

The dying dog you fed, the crying child you  

comforted; these will stay in the panner's mesh. 

But the soul-blackening betrayals will crumble away 

with time itself and the dark pockmarks of your 

heart will fall like sad rain to the departing earth. 

Your eyes will be as vast as the sky that opens  

around you and you will wonder how they remained 

so obediently in your head. 

Your bones will be gone. Your head will leak into all 

air, your hands become breath. 

Below, you will hear the weeping at the end of a bad opera.  

It will not occur to you that you could be missed by anyone. 

You will be following the irresistible scent of a rose 

in full bloom not knowing you are in motion. 

Not knowing you are nowhere to be found.


--Abbie Conant, 2009 


Click here for the index to Abbie's other poems.