My father died 12 years ago this hour.
The rasping breath, as I left his hospital bed,
Lasted a few minutes more.
There was still hope, I said from denial,
Til I took the call, barely home at all;
Numb in the car, back to the ward we filed.
His body sunken, his eyes gone out,
I silently sat and swayed with his corpse.
This mighty man, reduced to nul,
No more jokes, his life force culled.
Was his soul in the room that night,
swirling round, down my right side,
as I sat with pleas, just one more day
so I could whisper what I needed to say?
His body may have gone and snuffed it
But I clung to his essence and absorbed its toughness.
That’s why, 12 years on, I’m still not ‘over it’,
Still not knowing what splits life and death,
apart from a beat, a spark, a breath.