Double or Nothing on Pascal’s Wager (poem)

(by Daniel R. Jones)

[Note: This poem was first published in Altered Reality in December 2016.]

Eleanor, I think
I want to go where you are.

But I worry.
naught but negative feedback
came through the visual metaphors-

Laid out flat-lined across a gurnee in the threshold 
of an elevator, white sheet pulled over your face.
No one asked the nurse on call

“Up or down?”
All personnel know
the morgue is in the basement.

And it sounds silly,
but I’m second-guessing our decision
to forego the cremation in favor of burial-

Am I reaching too much?
Are they called undertakers
for nothing?

Eleanor, I fear the worst…
the age-old question:
heaven or hell?

I want to go where you are
( I think?)

To make matters worse,
my last look at your tombstone
through the rear-view mirror

revealed the words
“Objects in mirror
are closer than they appear.”

Eleanor, am I reaching too much?
Am I reading too much
into this?

The Brunt of the Curse (poem)

Having borne the brunt
of the women’s curse,
your mother sat with you,
quietly nursing at her breast.

Your pink wrinkles shielded under
her sea-green hospital gown:
My eyes are blessed to see this.
Blessed and red and wet.

Every few days, your lifespan doubled,
but all you knew so far was white walls
sterile scenery and dry hospital air.

I read the parable of the lost sheep
and a Pablo Neruda poem—
wistful and melancholy.
For now you’ll just have to imagine
what a sheep or a Chilean “calle” might look like.

The brunt of a man’s curse
is that the work he does
for the ones he loves
is done almost entirely away from them.

I kissed your head and I headed for the door into the sunshine,
hoping maybe tomorrow you could see it for yourself.

Fevered Ream (Prose Poem)

[Note: the following poem was originally published in the Quarterly Speculative Poetry Magazine Eye to the Telescope on Oct. 15, 2016.]

(by Daniel R. Jones)

Against a heat-lightning veneer of 130-thread count you slip from your die-cast sarcophagus comatose to ghost, soul tethered to body like a dangling tooth a child is not willing to yank; 

don’t know that you’re dead so your soul lingers in room 607 of St. Vincent’s Hospital like it’s got nothing better to do, lifting out of body, settling back in, tossing and turning in a hospital-standard twin-size adjustable.

You burn blue across an Elysian nebula hung high between the star of Bethlehem and another; a faint drawn route by an aura Luna moth seeking streetlight. You’re pouring pools of amber over aircraft contrails before clattering down, down: a blip on the Hubble as you land a far-cry from Mount Moriah and a scientist on the other end of the monitor blinks twice before uttering:

I saw one.