Your Last Laugh

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
An elegy for my grandmother.

Submitted: August 24, 2009

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Submitted: August 24, 2009

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Your Last Laugh
for Ula Reynolds
 
 
We had just returned from Gatlinburg
when our ten year old bloodhound
was slaughtered by a rottweiler
for nookie. A month later
you followed him
off this earth.
 
I remember that last night.
They told me you could not
speak and that you would pass by dawn.
Despite everything I still went to see you
in that hospital bed.
You were pumped full of morphine,
unconscious, you sucked air
in and out of your lungs
clutching to life,
without consciousness.
 
You were the only person
I’d ever known to be cremated.
You wanted no service,
so we gathered at the mortuary,
when our parents made arrangements,
to see you for the last time.
 
They didn’t fill you
with embalming fluid
or cover you with that pasty
make-up. Your olive
skin was the shade
that I knew. You lay
there, sleeping without a breath.
We all stood around you
and I imagined you sitting up
and saying, “boo”
like it was just another
one of your jokes.
 
You wanted to be spread
in the lake behind our house.
We gathered onto our small
pontoon boat and motored
to the middle and we used
an ice cream scoop
I had used to dip out
vanilla to distribute you
to the water.
Your son, my father,
took the first scoop
and that is when I knew
that not just your ashes
were there, but you
were watching.
 
Most people would lean
over the side of boat
and let the ashes fall.
Not my dad, no
that would be too graceful.
Instead he flung you
out into the air
and at that moment
you were surely still with us.
Only you would push
that gust of wind
into my direction and let
your ashes fill my open mouth.
 
Chalk dried the saliva
in my mouth.
Then it hit my lungs.
I could hear you laughing
with the rest of my family.
 
 


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