Clouds Reflected: Photo by Sharon Burtner


He lies helpless as an infant
As he tries to speak.
One foot curves towards the other,
As if in sympathy.

Softly he whispers, "I must
Remember hard to breathe,"
And then, "Oh please,
Don't let me fall asleep."

Soon he cannot speak,
Can neither walk nor crawl.
He can only gaze at us,
Letting his eyes say all.

It wasn't very long ago
He used to dress; to write; to drink.
Now he can neither sip nor suck,
And we are left to think
Of what he wants
Each time he moans
Or slightly lifts a finger.

We moisten his lips
And hold his hand as
His body backward winds,
Except his fervent, midnight eyes,
Which burn without a sound.

Lids strained taut, my father tries
To never close his eyes,
As if death will simply
Go away, if it can't
Catch him by surprise.

Yet death's impatient rattle,
Clanging altogether too curt,
Somehow strangely mimicks
A baby rattle's mirth.

With his last breath, my father,
Climbing steep,
Does not fall, but rises
Somewhere beyond sleep.

Seeing his form,
So still, so small,
I suck in air with greed and
Silently repeat his words,
"Remember hard to breathe."

blue sphere link: click to return           sculpture link: 
click to visit Transforming Moments; The Miracle Workbook           gothic link: 
click to visit Suspect or Saint?           eyeball link: 
click to visit Witness Unalive