David Prasad CC
I always thought the death rattle was a myth.
But as I watched your chest rise and fall one last time,
I heard something. It wasn’t a rattle in the way I’ve always known
a rattle to be. Like the rattle of the stones we used to throw down
the abandoned mineshafts we explored as kids
long before we ever thought of exploring each other’s bodies.
Or the rough rattle of my dad’s ‘67 Ford pickup we used
to make love in while parked at Springer’s Cemetery.
Or the rattle of a quarter in the jukebox conjuring up
the song we used to dance to at the Stonefront Tavern.
Or the tinny rattle of the respirator’s tiny bellows
that kept our premature daughter alive for a time.
Or the glassy rattle of empty Jack bottles
that got me through another night of mourning.
Or the rattle of the foyer mirror
when you slammed the front door the night you left.
Or the metallic rattle of your key in the lock
when you came back home and gave me one last chance.
Or the crystalline rattle of branches after
the ice storm that marked our silver anniversary.
Or the rusty rattle of the gurney as they wheeled
you away from me after your heart stopped.
Truth be told, I can’t say it was a rattle at all. It was more
of a flutter of breath disguised as a rattle, a kind of secret
whispered to the universe, the way a candle flame whispers
something to the wick before it rises up through the air as smoke.
Kip Knott's newest book of poetry, Clean Coal Burn, is available from Kelsay Books. You can follow him on Twitter at @kip_knott and access more of his writing at kipknott.com. Currently, he lives in Delaware, Ohio with his wife, son, four cats, a dog, and a Chilean rose hair tarantula.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.