Your death took a long time
Too long, all things being relative.
Dying seems so Zen in the movies
But all that was ever borne
From your cracked lips was agony.
I’ve no idea where you went
When the moment finally came
Or even what you believed in
(if you’d ever considered such things).
I wasn’t even there when it happened
But I know it wasn’t beautiful
A man’s suffering never is and a man’s tears
Are always heart-breaking for they are never
Spilled carelessly but come from a well
So deep as to be seldom retrievable.
It was my mother who decided,
Who stole the umbilicus from
Your surrendering frame.
There’s no shame in asking to die
For you were so riddled with disease,
With sufferings inconceivable in nature.
Our hospitals are filled with corpses,
Empty folds of flesh and bones
Like barbed-wire fences, wrapped
Ferociously around an invisible tenet.
It ought to be considered murder
To stitch the soul into an empty sack
And leave it trapped there
Beyond any justifiable definition of mercy.
This was written about a step uncle who died of multiple types of cancer. My mom took care of him in her home until he needed to go into hospital. She told me the pain never stopped, he just screamed and screamed.