December 16

comments 51
poetry

 

What do you say
to a man who is dying?

A fact, just as it is
twenty-eight degrees

out, the sun set
three hours

and thirty-five
minutes ago, this is

a man who is dying,
but is still alive.

Careful, things fall
easily here,

this the greatest
distance, none

could be
further.

What hues
in that sunset!

A slow burn
over the bay,

the city changes
its face, harder

edges of night,
but ribbons of traffic,

headlights, taillights,
half coming, half

going, so graceful at
a distance.

I said it is twenty
-eight degrees out,

and of course it doesn’t
matter, there are no

tenable bridges
or tethers, no words,

no roads, this man
is dying, and

the forecast
says more snow.

 

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51 Comments

  1. The day after your poem we said goodbye to a little boy, my sister’s child. What does one say that means anything in those moments? Such awful separation, is death. And yet for the living life draws us unwillingly on and we have to be drawn with it, deep cold blanket of snow indeed!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am sorry for your loss.

      I’m still no closer to knowing what to say than when I first wrote this, to be honest. Long, long winters, but eventually, spring

      Liked by 4 people

      • Thank you for your concern. She is in such a numb place, finding it hard to make decisions, being reminded of him all the time, hating the quietness at home and really just surviving from one day to the next. She is sort of like a very weak pulse herself. She has gone back to work part time to be distracted but feeling fairly inept, and hating that about herself too.

        Liked by 2 people

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  5. I know it’s not the same, but this made me think of how we had to put down our 10 year old bulldog a couple of months ago. The hours leading up to the moment when we knew she would die were absolutely horrendous. You want to soak up every last minute you can but simultaneously hurry up the clock because death is already present in those hours.

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  6. The feeling can’t be explained… so surreal, painful. I have been there, watching, helpless. Truly, there ‘re no suitable words because words become meaningless to both the dying and the bereave.

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