Is This What Death Looks Like?
“Time of death?” the emergency room doctor asks
quite matter of factly.
“5:14 am” was the reply.
My father says to me at that very moment,
“So is this what death looks like?” and then leaves-
in his own car, and goes home by himself.
No backward glance. No kiss good-bye. No tears.
Just a swift departure. “Time to start my life now”
And so he leaves me behind with my mother,
and leaves my mother behind with me.
The way he left her alone in their marriage,
is the way he leaves her alone in the morgue with me.
Her body hardens, in the hours I am with her-
waiting to escort her to her final resting-place.
As I hold her hand in mine, it becomes warm again,
so I rub her face, her other hand, in the desperate hopes I can revive her again.
The way I always did, in her life with my dad.
But when I stop, she returns to stone,
I return to reality, she returns to the earth, and he returns to his life.
Yes, this is what death looks like. Having watched a man and a woman,
one forever on the brink of life-
and one always on the verge of death,
dance this dance.