I wrote this poem during the Open University Creative Writing course in 2014 and it was a very emotional process for me as the hurt and loss was, and still is, very fresh. I suppose we never get over the loss of a loved one.
The departed don’t know they are gone; it’s only the living who can’t cope with it.
I hope you like it and feel free to comment.
I Would Eat Sprouts
The last time I saw you conscious I made you bleed.
I hurt you. New blade on old skin. Magnolia walls, beeps and tubes.
The shtup shtup of oxygen machines.
Pungent smells of a sterile prison.
I wanted to be with you but I couldn’t stomach that place.
I went to the shop, for nothing, for time, for space. Afraid.
Yesterday’s Argus taking away those last precious moments.
Later, as we were leaving, you called out to me, beckoning me.
The last words I ever heard you say, squeezed out
between struggled breaths … ‘Look after your Mam.’
I will. I do.
I’m scared I’ll forget you …
your smell, your voice, your you.
You’re a fading echo bouncing off framed photographs
and reflecting in your grandchildren’s eyes.
Now, as I cuddle your granddaughter, Athena,
I see you, hidden in her smile and tears fill
that lonely corner of my mind.
I hope to be with you again someday, Dad,
in the place I fear the most, but I promise
I won’t leave the table till I’ve finished.
I’ll even eat the sprouts
just to spend time with the source of the echo.