by Stewart Lindstrom
too beautiful to die
Grandma, tell me we’re too beautiful to die.
Tell me about how Grandpa would get up on the roof
And play his guitar and sing till the sun went down.
Grandma, tell me what it did to you
To watch your husband die,
To watch him struggle at the last.
Grandma, tell me what it was like
To watch your boy grow old,
To watch your son become a father.
Grandma, tell me what it meant to you
To watch the Allies invade Berlin.
Tell me what it was to feel pride for America.
Grandma, tell me the bravery it took
To believe in God
When you heard bomb sirens.
Now Grandma, please, if nothing else, tell me this:
What’s it like to die?
When I saw you in that rose-gold casket
You looked too beautiful to die.
Couldn’t you have been sleeping?
Grandma, why the Hell did you leave us here?
I’ll stay if you stay.
Just make me one more batch of those molasses cookies,
Give me one more hug, one more birthday card in scrawled cursive,
One more reminder that the more the world mauls us,
The more beautiful we become.
There's so much in a life.
How is it that it should end this way,
Dressed in rose-gold and
Dropped into the abyss?
Grandma, I’m scared to die.
What’s it like to pass into that suffocating pitch,
To close your eyes and never wake,
To only live on in photographs...
Grandma, I don’t think I can do it.
I don’t think I can die….
Can't we fight the sunset?
How did he embrace it like that?
Tell me how he sang when the world was collapsing.
Grandma, tell me we’re too brave to become dust.
Tell me we’re loved enough to be forgiven.
Tell me we’re too beautiful to die.
Optima dies prima fugit.
-Vergil, the Aeneid
The days are
The seeds of
Cool summer nights
Cruising down Summit Avenue
With an ice cream cone in hand,
You two are there and we’re laughing,
And we’re not thinking about how like sand
These moments are, how they slip through our fingers
And then are lost forever, how we never realize the value of time
Until it passes, how you only visit your grandmother once she’s ten feet
Under the ground. And soon we’ll be in desks, and thinking about ourselves
Instead of moments, and then it’ll all be over, this whirlwind, and I’ll say goodbye,
And you two will both have boyfriends, and I’ll travel back into the darkness and see
Nothing there but blown-on dandelions.
Do you ever feel the softness of your skin
And wonder how you haven't shattered yet?
Our souls are little beads of honey,
From the flaming wick of God's tongue, and
Into hollow dreams shaped like men.
Our desire is to reach out,
To feel anyone, anything...
And so we make believe.
In childhood, we call it dress-up.
In adulthood, we call it living,
Huddling inside our glass soul-boxes
With no telling what we've been through.
Until one day, we find a craft fit to measure God,
The smallest fracture forms, and the human bleeds
Out, in beads of honey.
That is when we stick, when the human
Bleeds out and latches on to everything we do,
When all of our pretenses
And we are left to stand as we are,
is a high school senior from St. Paul. In addition to writing poetry, he enjoys jogging by the Mississippi, playing the trumpet, studying global politics, and playing tabletop games with his fantastic friends.
Want to find out more about the writer behind the work?
Read Stewart's interview here.