Saturday, February 16, 2019


He sits, slumped, at the table,
nose almost but not quite buried
in the cauliflower she so carefully braised,
hoping to stimulate his waning appetite.

She’s breaking, I can see, though she hides it well.
Nothing in her highly successful life
has prepared her for the pain of this:
the agony of watching as he writhes or slumps in defeat,
the sudden cries of pain, the lack of sleep; the odors, so pervasive,
the opioid prescriptions that run out all too soon;
no break in the constant watchfulness; no mobility
to plan or to anticipate a moment’s peace or a healing walk.

We watch her breaking, brittle mirror of our own mortality
for those of us who fly in, hoping to help
or say goodbye – she can’t or won’t say which --
and watch, him slumped, her breaking,
as she clears the dishes from the table,
breaking – she could throw this handmade cup against the wall,
watch its breaking match her own;
wishing back to when its clay was slumped upon a wheel
and spun to life between her highly successful fingers;
spin him back to life before he crashes into the wall
of his mortality.

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