Drawing to a Close | OctPoWriMo Day 29

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.



My prayers hang from the sickle

Of an unjust moon, dread being

Silent I no longer know to what

End I should attach my hope

I was not ready for the nightfall

But there was no way I could

Condemn you to remain on

The verge of departure


I can only cry when

Gripping both hands

Upright. How do you

Pronounce goodbye

When a plea for mercy

Sounds like a summons

For murder?


My eyes sink starless into an

Unwashed canvas, eclipsed

By cheekbones that grow in

Famine. My smile no longer

Connects to the flow of blood

But hangs on loosely like a

Partially severed limb. I wear

It in defense against those

Who would commiserate


I can only cry when

Gripping both hands

Upright. How do you

Pronounce goodbye

When a plea for mercy

Sounds like a summons

For murder?


The darkness has arrived

In the embrace of those

We loved, but there is no

Consoling a loneliness

That can only be appeased

By the one newly departed
The days we shared are unclear

Now, cobwebs lace my dreams

In the strands of light between

The woman that I knew flickers

Sphinx-like behind my vision, the

Photographs are still, reticent in

Their wooden frames I can no

Replay accurately their depictions


Only my heart holds the shapeless,

Indestructible essence of my love and

Here deep inside this sighing vessel you

Nest, a nocturnal bird given to lullaby


I chose Stevie Nick’s “Nightbird” as a child I doubt I understood the lyrics and even if I had a dim impression it would be years before I saw cancer. My step-fathers family has a heavy genetic predisposition for cancer, now in his 80s (he is 28 years older than my mom) he’s seen every one of his siblings battle and in all but one case succumb not to just one type of cancer but to multiple types simultaneously. I have lived with the dying. As an adult I still love Stevie Nicks but this song now has a much deeper meaning for me. I wrote a poem as I am not remotely musical.