You told me

you didn’t want to die

             while brushing your teeth

or folding a sweater, or while

             watching a Yankees game on TV

or in your sleep.

             You said you wanted 

to know you were dying, 

             to not just drop 

while pruning the azaleas

             or feeding the city’s poor.


You wanted time to lean 

             into your departure, to feel

death’s tide rising within you,

             the soul nudging the next world,  

fluttering God’s curtains, his words

             filling your mouth. You wanted


the deep sweetness of evening

             to lay about you like a garden

closing into twilight, and you,

             full of gratitude. You wanted

to feel God’s hand on your forehead,

             his breath, all incense and orange

and clover in a far field growing close

             about you like the softest blanket 

you’d ever known—and you, birthed like a baby

             in those soft folds.

Raphael Kosek

Raphael Kosek’s latest book of poetry, HARMLESS ENCOUNTERS, won the 2021 Jesse Bryce Niles Chapbook Contest. AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY, a finalist at Brick Road Poetry Press, was released in 2019. ROUGH GRACE won the 2014 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Contest. Her poems have appeared in Southern Humanities Review and Poetry East, and have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She served as the 2019-2020 Dutchess County, NY Poet Laureate where she teaches at Dutchess Community College. www.raphaelkosek.com

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