by Karen Gordon
Life is breath, is mind, is ears
His life is still here, though very still
Sometimes he yells No
Pushes away hands
That try to give what he does not want
Or maybe even need.
He is still him
In the still waning time,
Night and day become the same
Yet each breath spends another hour
He will not give in, he will not give up
Determined no one will tell him
How to do this life, this time,
They broke the mold.
He is himself, still life
Still living to his dying days
A furrowed brow and then
The morphine smooths the lines, takes the pain.
A hand maybe he will hold
He pushes the covers away, needs the air on his groin
There is nothing forbidden his last times, his parting days
Now alone even when his family keeps him company
For 10, 15, 30 minutes.
His time alone, on his terms
Though surely not the way he would have wanted
Body thin and bruised from old falls.
Still as a leaf on wind
Crashing, not floating, to earth.
His mind comes and goes
Words cannot find their way from his mouth
Eyes closed mostly
He is not waiting for death.
He pushes internally, not knowing with what
A beautiful man, even now,
Lines of his jaw, fair and soft, softer than ever before
He is not waiting
He is participating
Inside where we cannot see
His inner demons, his inner angels
Come to visit, entities more vivid
Than we, on the outside.
He sleeps with them if he is sleeping at all
He moans to them – a beckon or a rebuff
The strength he lived with keeps him here.
His time is near but unknown
He is himself.
Such as this is
Until the last.
Life is this now.
For him for us
Until we die.