Afterlife

by Mary Brunini McArdle


I’m going to have a house in Heaven,
And it’s going to be two storeys.
It would be unwise of me just now
To have a flight of stairs
Down which to fall,
For I’ve grown clumsy,
And my bones are weak.

The mornings there will all be perfect:
Sweet air that makes you want to suck
The sunlit sky into your lungs —
Days meant for flying if you were a pilot;
For golfing, if you were my father;
For riding, if you share my tastes.
I cannot do these things today,
For I am clumsy, and my bones are weak.

But I will have a stallion,
Chocolate brown with a cream tail,
And when I finish riding,
I’ll run barefoot toward a swimming pool.
I’ll dive, lifesaver style,
Skimming the surface, my head held straight,
My eyes completely focused.
My hands will slice the water
With no sound. I could do that
In my youth, before I became clumsy,
And my bones got weak.

There’ll be a thunderstorm at dusk,
And I’ll laugh with the lightning
And celebrate beneath the clouds.
My grandmother will be waiting
On the porch, the odor of violets
And summer strawberries on her clothes.
She’ll hold me till it’s dark.

And then the moon and I will climb
The stairs together to the bedroom
With the open walls.
And I will fall asleep
Amidst the branches of the trees,
Enveloped in a sheet of stars.


Copyright © 2007 by Mary Brunini McArdle

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