A Solitary Thing

by southwardtide

At first,
it was foreign.

The better part of a year
it took to become part of us

and we became accustomed.

We plotted:
what medications
to bring to the bedside,
what broth,
what puree.

We measured:
steps down the hall,
sunlight,
temperature.

We found a fragile balance
in this no man’s land

and while it slipped into
the clicks and clangs,
we rested in the forgetting.

But eventually it became more than us;

more than our imagined credentials,
more than the pats and hurrahs
we gave ourselves,

more than the sympathy we were
bestowed for fighting a battle
not our own.

It became foreign again.

And we lamented the years
spent forgetting
and getting on with things.

Though the system kept running,
the broths and purees,
the tray with its colored days,
the blankets and slippers,

we took to whispered tones.

It was no longer ours,
but his alone –

a strange solitary thing.

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