Instructions: On Getting Ready to Die by Gayle Kellner

Instructions_ On Getting Ready to Die

Instructions: On Getting Ready to Die

by Gayle Kellner

Please take off my watch
I won’t need time beyond the moment any longer

Followed by my earrings
There will be no one’s eye to catch,
No partner to impress

Slip off my shoes
Let me put my bare feet in the grass
One last time

Set my glasses for reading on the piles of books I’ll never get to
But stack my favorites near me
For they are among my closest friends

Wrap me in a sweater
In remembrance of those perfect chilly fall days
And take me outside
Let me feel the morning sun on my face

Unbutton my collar
Loosen my cuffs
That damn bra
I’ll need help with the clasp behind my back

Take off my belt
Lay all of these instruments of restraint aside
I will be restrained no longer

Why did I wait so long?


Gayle Kellner is a writer, an artist, a poet, and an educator. Her essays and poems have appeared in Utne Magazine, Orion Magazine,  The Loop, The Beachcomber, and  The Nature of an Island. She is currently a regular guest on Voice of Vashon’s community radio program The Brown Briefly hosted by retired reporter and editor of Time Magazine Brian Brown. Gayle also works as a professional artist. Her paintings have been shown on Vashon Island at the Blue Heron Center for the Arts and the Barnworks.  Her work in stone has been shown at the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington Kentucky.

Gayle currently lives on Vashon Island where she is pursuing her continued interests in writing and art. She spends her days now rising with the sun; to write, read poetry and history, tend her chickens and her garden, paint in her boathouse studio, and walk the shores and woodlands that surround her island home.