hushed sickroom

Blood pressure and insulin levels

speak without words about life

in the sickroom shared by husband

and wife who will be

—face-to-face how much longer?


Nothing she can say will outperform

the miracle of 21 painkillers—

and so they exchange air

filled with the smell of plastic bottles,

bodily fluids and sugary cookies not meant

for diabetics. She does what she can—

while he struggles to say thank you.


Handmade be-well pictures fill the walls

of the front office converted to makeshift

Palliative Care ward, with its mechanized

rental bed—the one she’s cleans 1,000 times

playing the role of nurse, priest and muse.


Slowly, her prayers expand

to fill the silence,

sensing God ready to take over.

Here, near the end.


PHOTO: I took this photo on the Island of Iona, Scotland on pilgrimage.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” Psalm 25:1


My poems are published in: Crux, Alive Now, Presence Journal, Weavings, Island Journal, Prairie Journal, Prairie Messenger and Transition Mental Health Journal among others. My second collection of poems, Sky Under Water: poems for where we live is on ibooks. My third collection, Little Dove, is available by contacting me directly

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