Prose Poem – “Ease while He Breathes” – 12/10/2022

Who knocks on his door? A nurse bathed in white; for I say, he has not yet left. Please give him ease. I give him ease, with his hand held in mine. I will grant him relief, with his breath taken into mine. As luck might have it, I have listed a measure of peace, as survivor’s names, on drooping ribbons. A wintery clover. A meager leftover, hanging like rocks on strands of fatal hope. Once, I gave him water to row towards me. Here, he bleeds next to me. I felt what had been close, for counted years, swimming in limitless tears. Here, his heart will lose rhythm, his lips will quit their breaths, and his form shall sink. No other entry. There will be no second memory to remind my remaining heartbeat of what cannot, should not, be stilled. No other exit, out from my remaining life – for to go on means to resist suffocation. For in moving on, no further life needs to be smothered. With curtains drawn over his screams, his life will shelter itself beneath waters of an empty ocean. What are clouds? Storms? What is this ceiling above me, darker than my shadow? From below, this ocean chooses to rise. Tears inevitably flow. Distant rivers will melt with fallen snow. To be no longer within his reach while being here, being without. To have gone deaf to a familiar faint chiming tune, hung from either bare branches or naked arms – all vulnerable, and a passage that transfigured breath into melody. To be no longer among gleaming roses, as I remain here, wrapped in thorns. This is my pain? This is his peace. One whispered syllable counted as a sentence – an entire vow – ending as a strangulation of honor and effort. This is ingratitude? This is a remaining heartbeat’s grieving echo. To tears, collected like clouds. To drying tears, still collected in a desert after that ocean departs.

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