Perfect Centerpiece

We curse.


Such a life, my sweet,

To be as a fixture upon a lace doily,

A centerpiece, waiting to be gazed at

Through the eyes of someone who might 

See your world, hear your heart, touch your soul.


Such a life, my sweet, 

Waking up every morning, 

The gurgle of drainage down a silicone tube

To accompany the first glimpse of daylight,

The taste of toothpaste,

Replaces morning coffee,

And though you can smell its aroma

As it floats upstairs, 

No one even knows you are aware.


Sounds of your Dad's leather workboots,

I know you can hear,

Tapping on an oak floorboard,

They fade into memories,

A seemingly otherworld away

From the morning enema about to call on you,

You know, that one you swore you never wanted?

You never thought they'd be so cruel, I know,

The words you wrote were jumbled and twisted, 

Even with clear instructions listed.


Your eyes burn through my soul

Like a welding torch,

Because I know you are there, aware,

And if you had said this life 

Were all you had ever dreamed of, 

Or hoped for,

We could rejoice that you are alive,

No one would have to pretend 

They were happy buying 50 adult diapers a week.

Wiping the drool from lips 

That kissed mine so tenderly on hot summer nights,

Would not produce the warm rush of shame that it does.

The frigid glares of judgement

By onlookers are like daggers.

Their thoughts pierce through,

And shatter the glass walls 

Of our new home named "denial".


So we curse.


We curse the shattered shards we trample under foot,

We curse the time we spend in front of the mirror.

We curse the smile worn in vain,

And smothered in invisible pain,

That we don so shamelessly to greet you daily, 

And we choke on every lie that slips through

This carefully orchestrated facade

That screams to be seen for what it is.


We curse the night,

Because sleep was something 

That died when the flatline disappeared,

When they told us this is what "alive" is.


We curse the tubes,

We curse the sound of breathing monitors.

We curse wheelchairs,

And doctor's offices,

We curse every dream we ever shared,

Every challenge we ever dared,

The rising sun, the day that's done,

The fun, the laughter, the tears.


We curse ourselves.

We curse the thousands of dollars 

Our suffering is making

For others' taking

As your body contorts,

Into nothing more than a fragile shell.

It is like we all

At the same time,




In hell.



2015 ©















Author's Notes/Comments: 

Just more ramblings of empathetic garbage that nurses become magnets for in the midst of seeing life through the eyes of family caregivers. No, not a first hand experience. I am that strong...NOT!!

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and_hera_met_zeus's picture


amazing write!! i was utterly convinced it was first hand, real.  and i HAVE been there (blessedly not for very long).  well done!!!!!

bishu's picture

Oh my poison My Poison My Poison !!!!!!

When are you goin to kill me

You are bitter yet sweet

But I don't like tuh meet

Till I have muh own feet

Come hell come heaven

Some more yeast needed

To make bread leven (?)




allets's picture

I've Seen & Empathized

A friend went through chemo then radiation therapy, then died. It is hard to watch one once vital succumb to the ravages of disease. You do what is required of you for the sake of love. ~allets~ 



nightlight1220's picture

most difficult

So sorry your friend didn't make it. That is also a most difficult situation. I think the inspiration for this one stemmed mostly from the way that living wills are too often ignored. After all, if anyone is going to sue the doctor or the facility for a wrongful deathit will not be the patient. It will be the family members left. But the agony of reaching acceptance amongst families is what I see as the most destructive of all. 

...and he asked her, "do you write poetry? Because I feel as if I am the ink that flows from your quill."

"No", she replied, "but I have experienced it. "


allets's picture

Bouncing Back

from the death of a close loved one is really really hard. I tamed down some relatives who wanted to sue - actually they had cause, but it is destructive. No insurance policy causes a lot of cursing. On top of grief, debt, the need to go back to work and help family members. It's tough especially when you are also grieving. I wish you peace and productivity in all you do -Allets-




allets's picture


Scraped out--emptied. Sudden deaths are merciful, dying over years corrodes what makes us want the future. The word despair is insufficient, the words grief or sorrow miss the emotions we have not invented words for yet. Tears  perhaps as simile: she is as insubstantial as a tear.


This poem says the unsayable.


Stella Crews