Sunday, August 22, 2010

a poem about my husband when he was dying

Remember, no, Forget

Remember the moments when we were together
In a white room. Remember no forget the rest that came afterward.
The rest--your rest is what we’re talking about, but
I meant everything, the rest of it, that came later,
Everything after you died in the room. Everything up to now.
No, I know.
You really died in some other room where they were scanning your body. I don’t know why. I know that then,
You were alive, drugged, happy in a way, smiling, and then we (Laura and I) went out to dinner and
You were dead. Even though the machines kept you breathing for awhile.

But remember the moments before, way before, the day before,
The week before, the years before. Sleeping side by side, your hands on my breasts. Embracing until we were exhausted. Almost too tired to get up. You got up so early.
The moments in the living room
Before dinner. Drinking vodka, talking, kissing, laughing about what happened
That day or last year or whenever. Planning what to do on our next trip.

Remember the awful moments and also the one happy moment in the white room
When you said, “Where have you been all day?” When you finally smiled.
They finally decided to give you something to stop the pain. Finally.
Waiting, waiting, I waited all day long for that moment that I thought would come
As soon as we got to the hospital. But didn’t. It was just pain and
Pain and pain and pain until that one moment in the white room. They all said things like
“Dad, how are you?” I said, “I was right here.” I embraced you.

That was the last time.

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