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For Jean

September 1, 2013

by Stephen Damon

This poem is for a Zen Hospice resident with whom I spent a few hours, a couple of days before she died. Our day together was spent mainly in silence, but we did exchange a few whispers. I will always remember the last time I saw her smile as she whispered, “thank you” for a flashlight I put on her bedside table. It was one of the most beautiful and haunting smiles I have ever seen. It will stay with me forever.

She is resting

More deeply than before

More deeply than I can know.


Her breathing is quiet

Barely a whisper

Or maybe its prayer


Lighter than air.


Her eyes open a glimmer

A spark within smoke

Then close with a smile.


Beneath a universe of stars

She floats effortlessly

Toward a far-off distance


Only she can see.


Space is dissolving

Without a center

Or circumference.


She is no more—

She is everything.




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