When the end came, you weren’t resigned,
Having fought for months to stay alive,
Despite bloodless cuts from gamma knife;
But your eyes told us you weren’t terrified.
You became familiar with the window
We feared or resented looking through
To see frost arrive at night for you
Killing the leaves with a dazzling glow.
To slip through that bright gap, you grew large,
Largest when you sprang from your bed
And strained toward the light as if to charge
The outdoors with wings, not feet of lead.
You felt the wind take hot pain from your face
And sensed its passage to that other place.
We stood aside, in silence, witnesses
To the life that leaves, the life that blesses.
Andrés Rodríguez is the author of Night Song (Tia Chucha Press), Book of the Heart(Lindisfarne Press), and Portal of Dreams (Woodley Press). His poems have appeared in Bilingual Review, Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Harvard Review, Hubbub, New York Quarterly, and other journals. His work is included in the anthologies Currents from the Dancing River (Harcourt Brace), New Chicano Writing (University of Arizona Press), and Wild Song (University of Georgia Press). Rodríguez won the 2007 Writers Exchange Award in Poetry sponsored by Poets & Writers. He has an MA in English (Stanford) and a PhD in Literature (UC Santa Cruz). He lives in Kansas City.