May 5th Haibun


It is time and still she lies there. Her chest rises and falls. Sometimes her eyes track me as I pace the room. Heidi drops an orange juice glass on their new faux-marble countertop, shattering it. She turns her face toward the sound, “Who’s there?” I hold her hand.

the clock ticks minutes
while we wait for numbered days
her time dissipates

One day she feels better, “Let’s go for a walk.” Dan pushes her wheelchair, her legs are noodles now. On the way back up the path, sunshine beaming, she forgets why they are doing nothing but waiting. “What are we waiting for?”

springtime erases
all but the yellowest sun
and darkest shadows

Until today when she slips into a coma. It is more than sleeping deeply. It is as if a breathing corpse lies on her hospice bed. I do not know where to rest my eyes. I cannot look at her like this. I cannot look away.

deep sleep of the
near dead is like a spent firecracker
still smoking

I am outside when it happens. There is no noise, no panicked cry. My father was with her. When her breathing became labored, the rosary clattered to the floor and the chair fell backward as he abruptly stood up. “It was like cellophane crumpling inside her lungs,” he later said.

that was nine years past
today is just like that day
I am crying still





Just writing this was exercise enough for me today.

And I’m open to Whetstone comments, but it’s porbably good to remember that this is about as personal as it gets.

About the Author ()

"Always try to add a little fizz and ginger to everything you write." --Matthew Stibbe

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