There are many different forms of death
brought to my grandmother on Easter Sunday
already browning in their vase by Tuesday.
The death she awaits, as her green eyes grow foggier
each day staring toward the ceiling, looking for the place she knows she will go next.
This will be the death of the last immigrant
death when her green eyes close
and cease to reflect the green hills and gray seas of her home
and death of the stories she might never have told us.
There’s death in the piles of unread newspapers by her entry
faceless, nameless, technicolor death in oil-rich nations or marathon massacres.
Death was in the brown leaves that crumpled on the grass last fall
buried beneath a blanket of snow
only to resurface this spring, wet.
There was the death of that deer on Highway 61
who dashed out of the woods
and now she’s crawling with flies.
Hundreds of deaths all over the windshield
smudges obliterated by sprinkling skies
above the lakes next to the road.
Sometimes we call death
passing or crossing over or moving on
when it’s really just death
but sometimes it isn’t death at all
My hair was already dead
when it fell off my head
as chemotherapy caused the death of me from the inside out
a million little deaths in my cells that I could not even imagine
The backyard compost was full of death
when I scattered it with black shiny locks
greening orange peels,
the slimy pieces of onions we carelessly discarded,
old autumn leaves,
coffee grounds from many mornings ago.
My dead hair mixed with our dead waste.
It made a bed for next year’s tulips.
Kevin Hershey returned to his hometown of St. Paul after completing college last year. Currently, his life is dedicated to full-time soul searching.