After Death

i see you in your pain 

making life look like death itself 

take my vital force from me 

and use it on yourself


i watch you rely on intermittent help

while care follows a rigorous schedule 

and such trivial things as life and death

are marked by potato chips and pamphlets


some angel donated an extra room 

where hundreds congregate

so they don't have to watch you 

take your hundredth dose of dilaudid.


i watch you ease away from us

like a friend with somewhere better to go

inching toward the back door

speaking in euphemisms.


i spend my time in the extra room.

some donor is as heartless as i.

thank god for places away from the ones we love.

and dilaudid.  thank god for dilaudid.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

i originally titled this "why am i here again?"  because i felt that way at the time.  now i think this is a better title. 

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AquarianMale's picture

  To me this poem is soused


To me this poem is soused with gloom, lethality and near pending demise. It is an interesting read; then again, I love Dostoyevsky, Camus, Kafka and Sartre. It feels like an existential bereavement. I think the hydromorphone references are their own euphemisms. They make the poem sound expiry and mortally fatal. It is reminiscent of a hospice situation; watching someone drift away helplessly under the twinge of administered numbness. Those on the sidelines are left to deal with their own sorrows, agony and grief. Surveillance caught defenselessly in the throes of pain, remorse, ambivalence, heartache, and prayers – perhaps – that wish the situations of the past, and stinging thoughts in the present moment could somehow be different. Sad poem, but well worth the recital and contemplation.


and_hera_met_zeus's picture

you are exactly right.  it's

you are exactly right.  it's about my grandmother in hospice.