Daniel J. Flore III: “They gave me the last rites”



They gave me the last rites

walking out of a restaurant
I hear a family saying grace
like they were giving me the last rites
they pray in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit
I think I’m going to get shot or something walking out the door
It’s like trying not to step on butterfly wings to stay alive

I am in my deathbed
my family is all gathered round
crumpled tissues are clouds of heaven
I want to speak
but have nothing to say but the tears
I wiped on my wrist
there is a stupid fluorescent light there
hanging like the tease of life
I am going to walk the shorelines I decide
and learn about death
in glistening waves
somewhere in Cape May
the closest I can get to Galilee
Grammy’s ghost in the ocean smiling at me
but there’s nothing here
just sand
and I didn’t even make it out of bed

there are birds at my burial plot
and I smile like I’m taking a train to my mom’s
but I keep hearing this opera music
I am in a garden
with petals like wings
that wrap around me
I’m alone
the past
plays in the music
like chandelier tears
leading me into its sadness
deeper and deeper
until I can’t hear the music at all
just the silence after it



About the Author: Daniel J. Flore III has had many writings published and is the author of 4 books of poetry from GenZ Publishing. The latest is titled Pink Marigold Rays.


Image Credit: Col. Henry Stuart Wortley “Study of Clouds” (1863) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

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