Alan Harris

The End is Near
I remember the man
in the long beard
carrying the sign
I’m sure he was not as old
as I remember
though I’m optimistic
the hair on his face
most certainly was
And I asked my father
near what is the end
what is it next to, close by,
approaching upon?
My father ignored the man
as he looked at his watch
and explained to an 8-year old
that everything has an expiration date
including life
and only a fool
needs to read it on a sign

My husband heard them first
in no apparent hurry
like someone waiting patiently
for something to happen
but then again, he was one of those
always looking and listening
on good days
for similes and metaphors
on bad days
irony and foreshadowing
connective tissue made of allusions
He’s gone now
there’s no one to listen but me
to the footsteps pacing in the hallway
on the kitchen floor
stopping to read my letters
on the dining room table
moving across the room to touch the curtains
accidentally kicking the dog’s dish
like a ghost with nowhere to go
like the rustling pages of a final chapter
echoing tomorrow’s footsteps
of Dickinson’s mourners
marching to and fro

Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a hospice volunteer who helps patients write memoirs, letters, and poetry. Harris is the recipient of the 2014 John Clare Poetry Prize as well as the 2015 Tompkins Poetry Award from Wayne State University. Harris is a two-time Pushcart nominee. His first chapbook of poetry, Hospice Bed Conversations, has been nominated for a Midland Author’s Award. Most recently his work has been included in the 2018 A Wild Word Anthology and has also appeared in Snapdragon as well as The Great Lakes Review.

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