when he died

when he died

by Janice S Fuller

my father who thought
he was going to die
from the time he was forty
and then lived to 82
is probably surprised
and disappointed in himself
that he wasted all those years
of downcast eyes
and silent hours
thinking this stomach ache
or those bumps on his leg
would kill him
when actually it and they
would disappear
and he would be just fine
strong in his walk through town
precise in fixing the old Ford
fiddling songs on his violin
remembering punch lines.

he’d wasted all those years
of worry on killers that never
killed him and now he lies
in prairie soil that never
gave up a diagnosis
or a prescription to keep
his imagination healthy
or make his wife happier
and family life a miracle
of non-medical events

his only treatments
the sun rising over wheat fields
or waiting for dawn at Pickerel Lake
fishing for some peace of mind
remedies that sat side-by-side with death
and won out nearly every time


Janice is a poet who lives and writes in the desert of Tucson, Arizona, and on a lake in Wisconsin. She has degrees in English and Communication Disorders; spent her career as a speech pathologist. Janice’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Gyroscope Review, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Amsterdam Quarterly, From the Depths, The Remembered Arts Journal, Mojave River Review, and Caesura among others.


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