I smile at you now as I always have,
cheeks pinched by nature’s fingernails.
Your eyes don’t see me well anymore,
but somehow, somehow you know I’m still there.
My lungs’ vapour squeezes through my parted lips,
spinning fluidly into an arabesque and then,
Invisible to the eye, yet mingled with the oxygen
pumped to you by life-saving devices that have never lived.
I am haloed by an amber glow.
It’s a warm palette against my iced skin,
tinting me the shades of the old oak tree by the river,
when it would erupt a last-ditch attempt at radiance
with blazed leaves, fading out with a flourish
to reveal the charcoal skeleton beneath.
Your frail fingers caress my face, knuckles bulbous
like the gnarled branches from that winter walk.
Our children are talking, chattering, babbling;
trying to stamp the silences that seep slowly
through you into the room’s monotony.
They know, though they will never say.
They see me too, clasped in your hand, obscured by your tag.
Sympathetic smiles and a bittersweet kiss signal the goodbye,
tears gathered in the hollows of a throat, choking them and you.
Don’t cry darling, it won’t be long now.
One click, as resonant as a gunshot and yet,
My arms are open wide: I’ve waited a decade for you.
Part of the collection I’m submitting for assessment.
Edited by me.