When It’s Time

NaPoWriMo, Day 18.

Our optional prompt for the day takes its cue from how poetry can help us to make concrete the wild abstraction of a feeling like grief…

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. This may not be a “fun” prompt, but loss is one of the most universal and human experiences, and some of the world’s most moving art is an effort to understand and deal with it.

When It’s Time

I wonder how they know.
They make the call.
It’s time to come.
But how do they know?

He’s been gone for years already.
The memory, the recognition, and —
eventually — even the words.

But now he lies here, eyes closed,
erratic breathing, pale skin.
The phrase “death warmed over”
comes (irreverently) to mind.

Still, how do they know?
Mightn’t he wake up tomorrow with
that good-humored sparkle in his eye
and say something silly?
“You’ve grown so tall now;
your legs go all the way down to your feet!”

No, of course not. But still…

His skin is hot.
His breathing is ragged.
I expected clammy and shallow,

I kiss his forehead, pat his hand.
I feel embarrassed that I don’t know what to say,
even though he can’t hear me.

I don’t say goodbye, because —
well — he’s still here. For now.
Then again, as I said before,
he’s been gone a long time already.

I wonder how they know.

About Maggie C

Stained glass artist, writer, respecter of life.
This entry was posted in daily prompt, humanity, poetry, serious stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to When It’s Time

  1. Peggy Lemmer says:

    Once again, you make me cry. Such talent!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhh. Just love ❤

    You do heavy and you do it well. I write about losing a shoe instead. :p

    Liked by 1 person

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