“Exit Softly” by Julie Dolcemaschio

I drew breath the night she took her last
And vibrated with her passing
I waxed as she waned
And I told her it was alright to leave

I pushed between the spaces of my living
And for every breath she took, I gave her more of mine
Hoping that it would give me a few more minutes
Yet hoping it wouldn’t

She hurt enough
She suffered enough
She endured enough

In her last breath the good daughter urged her on
And in her final moments a single tear traced the lines of her face
Now taut over structure bones no longer needed in this life
She told me once that a life lived full was all that was required
And that passing the test required only a smile

I watched her exit softly in the late night quiet
Reverence for the passing of royalty
And as that final tear caressed her cheek
I saw God, and I asked him to hold her hand

She was a bit unsteady
And had a fear of falling

Julie Dolcemaschio

Photo by VC Ferry

All Rights Reserved

© 2010



  1. lkthayer · February 27, 2010

    Julie, your poetry always gives me goose bumps…thank you for sharing your private grief with us in such a moving public way…we need your words to help with our own losses. I applaud you. – LK

  2. Michele Spector · February 27, 2010

    This is so beautiful! Expertly written, emotionally rich. It’s as if we’re there with you.

  3. 1markt · February 27, 2010

    I agree with Michele and LK, a beautiful work and quite able to take us where you were.

  4. Jackie herzig · February 27, 2010

    There is such beauty and pathos in you words. You are an amazing writer and I feel so honored to share the same space with you in class.

  5. Adesh Kaur · March 4, 2010

    O sweetie. Whew! Just reading your poem, I have trouble breathing. I love your last line “She was a bit unsteady and had a fear of falling.” Thank you for going so deep into you.

  6. Julie · March 5, 2010

    Thank you all, and as always Lisa, thanks for the squeeze.


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