Bumping Into Katy Near The Doctor’s

an imaginary meeting – a triste tryst?

I saw Katy before she saw me
Her blue red gold bandanna
Dazzled in the sunlight
She walked slowly,
Unsteady on her feet
Like a Barbary pirate might
Fresh off the boat.
Close up, her face was careworn, drawn.
That’s what life and chemo does to you.
But still beautiful,
Still hinting of Sissy Spacek in Carrie,
Without the horror movie aspect.
Katy half-smiled at me
She was not that good at smiling
Lacking the practice lately.
Her sad eyes
Not teary sad,
Hurting sad, 
Had long run out of shine.
Not like they shone
When she was ‘Carrie’
And I was ‘Shaft’
And our carousing,
Play-fighting love-making 
Made neighbours report 
Torture in number forty-four.
‘Tormented with pleasure, more like.’
Ah but that was then…
I smiled a brittle smile, masking my heartache
Over the bone buried in memory’s backyard 
The bone we never spoke about.
She said she liked the look of my hat 
I lied and said I was just back from Nepal
That Kathmandu was overrated…
She cut my shite-spiel short, 
“How are you?”
I flourished my arms wide and bowed low,
“I’m amazing. Obviously! How are you?”
Her eyes were dark-rimmed hollows.
She shrugged and lied right back at me,
“I’m alright. No I’m fine, really, I’m fine…”
‘Fine?’ She was suffering too.
I would have asked of travel plans
But had seen her dragging
From surgery to the pharmacy.
“Fine? That’s good. I’m fine too.”
We soon ran out of words
I tried to peck her goodbye
She turned her face from me.
I shook her hand
Walked away and waved
Wondering how long 
Before the shadow
That she had become 
Took leave of Earth.
And would the unborn soul 
That did not make it 
Be there to greet her
With hugging arms
And kiss her with healing lips,
“It is fine, Mum.”
And it would be.


© coolhermit 2023
Views: 930
critique and comments welcome.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Flag Content