Death Announced Her Arrival
This one was written for a friend, an old lady, who called me late one night requesting a ride to a hospital. For a number of practical reasons, I could not help her. Her sons absolved me as easily as they absolved themselves. I see her so clearly in my mind, sitting outside her huge empty house, waiting for me to come along with my dog on my evening walks. She would borrow a pittance to tide her over the month-end, return it, and then promptly borrow again…
Death announced her arrival.
No silent whispers in my ears;
No, the clarion call was loud and clear.
My guts burnt; I hardly ate but puked.
Doctors bled my wallet white;
Prescribed pills rent body and mind.
I’ve taken care to cook a broth
A thin gruel, no sugar no salt.
Surely, it would slide down, stay,
Wake me up to one more beautiful day,
But there, again over the sink, I sway.
“I’m dying,” I’ve told my family and friends,
They negate, know not what to say.
My three sons living abroad, nod
Over phones, murmur they’ll visit soon.
Kindness pats my shoulder, squeezes my hand,
A warm embrace; I think they care.
But at 2:30 am, when I contact in despair,
“I’m dying, please take me to hospital…”
In their best interest, they cut my call.
My servant, loyal shadow till the end,
Tows me to a dignified final farewell.
Eighty-seven years I’ve walked this Earth
Mind and tongue sharp, they’ll remember
Me, fiercely independent.
©Sumita Dutta Shoam, November 2016