The sum of a life in a flash of painful wisps,
a collection of shattered memories splinter the soul,
haunting memories you’d rather forget.
Where there is life, there must also be darkness,
and where there is joy, there is pain.
The sounds, the smells, the last words scar;
the ignorant beeping of a heartless monitor,
the touch of cold skin in a silent room.
Last moments, small and simple at the time.
Just another day.
Yet the mind yells in anguish, pleading to stop-
warning of incoming danger disguised with a lie.
I’m fine, she smiles, her airy laugh forcing me
to fake a smile as well.
Last impressions- we had the same haircut,
disobeying the doctor’s orders
as she leaned forward and shook hers around playfully.
False hope, misunderstood messages-
The surgery went well, a surge of relief
that would soon crash down,
drown us all, and we would welcome it.
Life support, they call it,
when it’s time to say goodbye. No hope,
no laughter, just silence as the air pumps out one
The loss cuts deep and leaves its scars,
but at least it’s over, as life moves on for some.
One year later, a cell phone rings-
and it is from then on I fear
its shrill cry, whispers of incoming doom,
as I hold my breath and wait for bad news.
What? mother answers- she’s talking to dad,
I know her expressions and her every tone. Her face changes,
causing my heart to still and anxiety to pound
a beat in my skull.
Bullshit. She rolls her eyes,
and mutters Jackass,
convinced my dad is fooling around.
But her face falls again,
and she sets the phone aside.
Pa had a heart attack-
she finally comes out with it,
but I had already known
the expression of loss.
And this time, it’s worse,
so much worse-
no false hope, no goodbyes,
just a blink and he’s gone.
It’s better that you didn’t see him,
you can remember him as he was.
Sure, it’s better- now I can pretend:
he’s Up North, with Auntie,
and I’m left here,
with the ghosts etched on my skin.