This old man in the hall, is he asleep?

Outside Mother’s room, against the wall,

Black feet and head book-ending a white sheet?

What does he see up on the ceiling?

Is his soul now before God, kneeling?

Is eyes-open just the way he sleeps,

or is this sleep of his for keeps?

What is he doing on that gurney,

outside the room where mom is learning

that she needs to curb her yearning

for meats that are too red?

Where is his nurse, his doctor,

should he be left unattended?

I’m just a kid, is he alive or is he dead?

Did I see him try to blink his eyes?

Did his chest just fall, or did it rise?

Did a pulse just bulge under eggplant-colored skin?

Or is a boy of ten seeing how his life will end?

No one passes as we stare, me at him, and him at the air.

If I touched him, would his moving, or his not, give me the biggest scare?

It matters not, I didn’t dare, I wished that I’d been braver

And to this day I wonder, was he asleep or a cadaver?

One response to this post.

  1. scared to touch an ailing person, A step short of regret, I hope people read this and amend.


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