Iris Dunkle’s Poetry

Jun 29, 2017 by

Iris Dunkle’s Poetry

This is How Jack London Died

The day was overcast, like this one.
It was November after all and the sky
held its breath like a defiant child. Mist
clinging to Sonoma Mountain in a thin veil.
The starlings circled the stone barns
in dizzying shapes. The eucalyptus grove moaned
in a light wind; a few branches clattering
to the ground. The ground was moist and fragrant.
The night before Charmian had looked through
the window from her sleeping porch to his
and saw him sleeping peacefully (the first time in weeks).
She chose not to disturb him and lay down
in her own bed–just a wall of glass, a bit of air away
and slept (the first time in weeks). When she awoke
she was in another world. She startled awake
into the heaviness of a day she’d never resolve.
He was already gone in spirit. His kidneys had shut down.
His body lay slumped on the floor. They tried–
lifted him, fed him coffee, walked him like a giant stuffed doll.
The parade of doctors ferried in, directing remedies. Until,
his breath caught in his throat and stopped.
And since it was November a light rain fell,
disrupting the path of birds, strengthening
the earth’s fragrant scent that rose up to meet him.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s books include: Gold Passage (2013), There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air (2015) and Interrupted Geographies (2017); she is currently writing the biography of Charmian Kittredge London, Jack London’s wife.

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