Theme Thursday: “kiss”


Thoughts After Choosing A Headstone

When it was time

to take your leave,

we picked out

your nearly-new

Italian-made suit

off the dollar-rack

at “Generations”

thrift store.

We matched

the dark blue

with your C.A. tie

and a packaged, pristine

white shirt.

I pulled out

the straight pins–

just as you, yourself, used to–

plucked them from the shoulders

and formed tidy piles

on the bedspread–

along with

the cardboard collar

and chest—stiff and thin.

We gave you

the “old country” send-off

you always wanted—

the pine box

and the raised glasses

of Bushmill’s best.

Then, Daddy,

I wasn’t afraid

to kiss your

cold, hard forehead

for the last time,

and lay my hand over

your Crayola-“flesh” toned

bony fingers

wound round with

the bog-wood beads.

Glory be to the Father

And to the Son

And to the Holy Ghost

As it was in the Beginning

Is Now, and Ever shall be

World without end.


Kathleen Mortensen©2009 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


42 thoughts on “Theme Thursday: “kiss”

  1. This is a moving poem, & one that may have been difficult for you. All the details are well-chosen, but the last image of the fingers wound with the rosary beads is quite powerful.


  2. That's stunning, Kat. I'm torn between responding to the poem qua poem and sending cyber-hugs. Maybe both? Beautiful poem, especially heartbreaking “I pulled out the pins…” – a small thing that will always be with you.Wishing you the comfort of happier memories –


  3. Oh, Kat…this was so sweet. Brought tears to my eyes. Lovely, lovely poem.I never saw my Dad do this ritual of opening up a brand new shirt, but I do have fond memories of The Mister doing it many, many times over the last 25 years. He, too, makes a little pile of pins while I sit on the bed and watch. 🙂


  4. I could not even breath after reading this, it hit so close to home. Mortality of those we would give up our lives happily for just to see one last time smile.


  5. “Then, Daddy,I wasn’t afraidto kiss yourcold, hard foreheadfor the last time,”…this is one of my last, final memories of my father. Sometimes, I wish I had been afraid just so I would not know the feel of a cold, hard forehead of death.In my brain–Death=hard Life=not hard.


  6. OH Kat. This is so sad. I couldn't kiss my darling Ray when he died . . but remember his mother stroking his hair and kissing his forehead. It's a lasting image. No parent should outlive their child.


  7. Damn Kat! This just hit home for me( I was the second biggest cry-baby at Pop's funeral and could hardly bring myself to touch his hand )…I'm hurting about now…okay, I'm better. One heck of a take on the theme!!


  8. My first visit here- I never seem to be able to get around to everyone on TT. So glad I got to you at last- I like reading poetry and this is very poignant. I like the description of 'crayola- “flesh” toned bony fingers'. So true. I like your take on the theme 🙂


  9. Perfect words in perfect order.A bit teary here as I kissed my mom's forehead and thought the same as you.Beautiful and emotional post.Not much more I can say.Your Dad's soul is shining.I just know it.Sorry for my absence. So damn much going on in my life right now.Hope you are well.~m


  10. Beautiful use of detail Kat – the nearly new Italian made suit, the little pile of pins, the almost personified stiff and thin cardboard inserts, Bushmill's best, the bog wood beads and all the rest of it. I had a quote from Emily Dickinson carved on my mother's stone and it always gives me comfort. “Ample make this bed./ Make this bed with awe./In it wait till judgement break/ excellent and fair.


  11. Well done on this touching poem, Kat. Your description of your Dad's hands is exactly the way I remember my Grandpa's at his funeral. I was young and that image has stayed with me.Thinking of you as you honor his memory.Michele


  12. Thank you for this beautiful poem, Kat. I too kissed my dad's “cold, hard forehead” for the last time, and you have touched on something very sad and profound here–your poem is both personal and collective.hugs


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