Before They Took Him

They waited for me
before they took him.
I closed the car door,
slogged past family,
noted the numbed, distant faces
and swollen, zoned eyes;
passed the old country roses,
sweet and sundry;
passed his hand-crafted shed
that smelled of fresh cedar,
heard the bustle of birds
all around, aflutter.

I make measured steps
to the backdoor, lightly opened.
Daddy reclines on the couch,
a sheet cloaked across,
shrouded half-way, like Jesus.
Mom says they waited for me
before they took him,
keeps asking,
Do you want to see him?
I shake my head endless,
and say it will raze me.

She lowers her head and I hear:
The old women say if you don’t look,
you’ll not believe it and go mad.

Murmurs occur about the service.
Hospice hugs and prays
but cannot stay.
Weeping seeps from nieces
once the body bag squeaks in.
The big-boned mortician
twists toward me
with a big-boned smile, and asks,
Do you want to see him
before we take him?

Mom said they waited for me.
I don’t want to go mad.
So, I do as I am bid,
tenderly unfold the blanket,

And see.


** Featured image by seth0s on Pixabay



  1. Delonda, this is so beautiful, personal and moving. I felt I was there with you on that sad day. Thank you for sharing this poem with us.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Angela, for your kind words. They mean so much to me.

  2. This is an incredibly moving poem, Delonda. I was so very touched by your words. Excellent work!

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