Home on the bus

after the morning hospital visit,

she sits in his chair

teary and wondering,

though it seems disloyal,

how she’ll cope after he’s gone.

Her parents reached their nineties.

She could live ten years, maybe more –

her heart’s still strong.

She tries to see a future for one

after fifty paired years.

The fit so right.

She’d keep busy, play cards,

take a bus trip with a friend –

but she’s lost touch.

Blood tests, x-rays, scans –

appointments stole their time.

Home nurses every other day

to bathe and bandage.

She flicks a crumb off the cat’s fur

as it purrs on her lap.

That night she’s called back in.

Nurses know the pallor,

the rasping breath.

Their children flank the bed

stroke his hand, squeeze hers,

cry, laugh about the time he …

Each finds a moment to say

goodbye. Love you Dad

up to the stars and back.

Death bubbles in his throat.

The Sister takes his wrist,

looks up …

You mean he’s gone?

She falters, leans in for

one last kiss

and weeps –

too soon as yet

to know the freedom

of a widow after grief.

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