Someone I Barely Knew Died

It’s strange, the way I shook when I first heard the news. You,
slumped over “your machine” my partner called it; a mower,
still, in the middle of the field; cutting grass your final task.
We had barely known each other; why I trembled I’ll never know.

I approached my partner with a hug, but he shook me
free from any relief; the gesture I had made, he said, was
one he simply didn’t need. His mother cried over the phone
and this surprised my lover, who, seemed baffled by her
open show of waterworks and pure display, to which he
honestly declared to me he just could not relate.

It wasn’t days or weeks or any stretch of fuzzy time
that passed. No therapy or help from friends
or drugstore cards with pithy words, were necessary
to this man, who bounced back from loss without a blur.

I want to ask if this would be his take on death
if it were mine. When time is up for me to go—
by car, or plane, or flu, or age—would he sway, or stand
as straight; unwilling to waiver, unable to break.
Whatever answer he may give, I cannot shake it off:

The image of him standing tall, how his green eyes refused
to mist. This is who he really is; damn you
for revealing it.

Headshot of Gillian Thomas

Gillian Thomas

Gillian Thomas is a Washington, DC-area writer, poet, and mother to her 8-year old son. A graduate of New York City’s Hunter College, Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in English and theater before first being published in the journal The Iconoclast. After many years in NYC, she is now back in the Washington area, writing and sharing parenting duties with her significant other. Thomas’ work has also appeared, or is forthcoming in, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Gargoyle, JMWW journal, and others.