By Liliana Fraser-Shade
I thought of so many things I could’ve said to you when I watched him carry your body to the chair.
You were like a child then, not completely there, clinging but with no strength.
I wondered if you were holding on because I held the truth.
I wondered if it would make you fall faster.
You got frailer in days, quicker than I could tell myself:
“I already said my goodbyes.”
I felt like I was deteriorating, too.
Christmas came and went.
We made a promise to be acquainted with death:
sooner, rather than later,
Pinning reasons to a corkboard in your bedroom for why that rattling breath
settled still in your lungs like some terrible cry.
I wake up and I don’t move,
knowing full well moving means seeing you.
The stairs are a tunnel, blinding and deep-dark
and all at the end is that hollow room you didn’t leave
so I don’t leave mine.
I think of things I should’ve said and time I should’ve spent
trying to find lightness in this.
It’s less the grief that takes me and more the aftermath, the wash away, the grit.
I’m sick again. It had to pass on to someone, some providential curse.
Someone else to be a burden of care.
We make the most of it
and leave daffodils for your wake.
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