Poems by Oona Coy



We die as we live,
the hospice social worker told us
Get the doggies up on the bed with her
You see how her hands are holding the reins still?
In my grandfather’s flannel night shirt,
she sits up and shakily puts on lipstick
drinks her white wine with filler so she doesn’t choke
sleeps next to a fierce former doctor from
the country of Georgia who
is determined to keep her alive
She thinks that I am 8 years
old and wet from jumping in her pool
It is the visiting harpist who calms her
Not old time songs on my guitar (too loud)
It’s my brilliant midwifing mother,
not the priest from her church,
who settles the vivid fears (someone’s child has died?)
She takes them both on a ride through
the long gone Johnson farm
with a fan blasting to simulate the wind
And then she will start packing her bags
to go on a trip and you will need to tell her
that you will take care of your brothers, she told my mother
That’s what the matriarch needs to hear
The younger one, okay, not the older asshole, my mother acquiesces
The sycamores out the window are steady
My born again aunt says she took Jesus into her heart
I get the Good Friday call that she’s gone
last breaths after being bathed in her bed
The mock orange blooms when we gather to shake
her ashes plus multiple doggies and horses ashes
into the asparagus patch
and her boulder (unknowingly long ago picked out) is
down by the north branch of the Raritan next to my grandfather’s



Like this are the raindrops
and like this the doodle bugs

but the sumac they are different,
early spring afternoons.

I’m over the ways you lust after me
like a virus counts his hosts.

In these blood soaked mornings
I forget to be grateful.

I am the broken fridge door
over and over.

You call to me honey,
double into the caves of dreams.

I’ll never be yours,
my throat full of tinctures.

You lurch across from me,
lost sailor.