At the End of a Long Illness

I have seen Death and he is neither gnarled nor gray.
He wears no hooded cloak nor does he hide his face.

Instead he takes on a form of such limberness and grace
And sings sweetly of beginnings,
Like a child at his play.

Dawn lingers in his footsteps;
He says to leave the night behind.
There is no need to reset:
Nothing to rewind.

Old aches and pains,
Rueful memories and sorrows,
Are but in this lifetime,
a set of burdens borrowed.

So I have seen Death and heard his whispered words
to one who already seeks him,
he is but a welcomed light.

Appointment

Letters come in a threat
Reminders that the benign can become malignant
The feelings brushed under the carpet resurface again
I want to stick my head in the sand
But it is not I who will be hurt if I do;
Our voices become loud when we speak for others
More so than when we speak on behalf of ourselves

Convalescent

Sometimes all I can do is throw you things
Sweets and magazines, photos and kisses
I’m not sure what will lift your lethargy
That acceptance of the inevitable
But I want you for a moment to smile
I want you to be reminded that you are loved
And that I think of you
Even if you must think of nothing

Nursemaid

Sick alone and suddenly I’m reminded of my mother picking me up in junior high and holding my feverish hand walking me to the doctor’s, grandmother’s homemade congee steaming in the porcelain bowl, her mouth blowing a spoonful to cool, my grandfather putting his cheek to mine to deduce whether the cough that rattles me is from a common cold or the dreaded flu, nights of vomiting and lying in bed ill and never having to get up to change the waste bin, the sour smell never there for long, chased out, and quiet murmurs trickling in that check on me in bed, my bedroom door easing closed before I could even catch a glimpse of the family guard whose shift it was today, in the days when I didn’t ask to know who nursed me, sure there would always be someone on the other side.