Death the Great Interrupter of an Ordinary Day

As a child

I contemplated death

my death

sudden death

saddened by the world moving forward without me


red cardinals in the snow

squirrels scratching up telephone poles

the hiss of an OC Transpo stopping up the street

the cry of children released into the school yard

celery sticks smeared with cheese whiz

the chug of the washing machine

Anna Maria Tremonte inquiring why

ice click clacking against glass full of scotch

thump thump thump up stairs

flicked off lights

toilet flushed


Nothing stopped outside or inside my door

the smallness of me

entombed by


life as usual

and then I reached an age where death happened regularly around me

a drowning on a bright cloudless Easter Monday

a truck barreling into car on a busy weekday morning

a brain aneurism in a barn while doing chores

a stroke before lunch

a murder while walking on the beach with a husband

a hanging in a father’s basement

a body sprawled on rocks below a bridge

a heart attack while bathing under an outdoor pipe.


The only thing certain, death

so why not the ordinariness

like milking cows

or hitching a ride

or going into the sea with your son on your back

or taking a trip to a tropical island

Or words exchanged before your Dad leaves for the cottage

Or visiting a lover on the island’s west side

Or stepping out of a car just before lunch

Or taking a shower on a day full of clouds


Death the great interrupter of an ordinary day




and quick


So why not design and build your coffin

brilliant red like cardinals in snow

why not plunge your hands in clay and spin an urn

to rest your ashes

before friends and family

scatter you on designated sacred places

you wrote  in a will full of poetry and prose

why not speak of death not with fear and sadness

but with the ordinariness of another sacred day

like squirrels scratching up telephone poles

by Maureen St. Clair

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