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HUSBAND WITH WIFE, DYING
(In her final illness, a friend kept mumbling she was on a journey
but somehow she could never remember the destination.)
Posted by pamwagg at March 28, 2008 03:58 PM
Thirty-six hours up and he’s slurring words
demanding grits instead of sleep,
afraid she will die if he closes his eyes.
For if he closes his eyes, sleep will take him away
from her and every last second of her last hours
counts, wresting from fate a moment’s victory
over the plot in the cemetery they’d planned to share.
He wobbles on Xanax to her bedside
and leans half over her, precarious, bent from the waist
to bestow his kisses. But oh, he is so sleepy
he threatens to topple on top. We hold our breaths
and breathe again only when again he is seated
at the foot of the bed with hospice
attentively taking his blood pressure
which is much too high even for a grieving man.
Sleep, the family begs, but no, he deliberately
fends off unconsciousness, knowing the dangers:
if even once he allows himself the luxury
she could leave him on the next plane out.