Dinner with Ann

At our dinner table tonight,
Irish stew mixed with friendship, 
we went to depths where time ends, 
I densely suspended by our need
to make vital that common journey home, 
you spoke with grace of a year, maybe two

Living well, being a presence to grandkids, you said
death to ALS will be a final gift, 
a whole life condensed into one pure heart, 
sipping from precious moments, 
not rushing to the end, not pushing for joy, 
just letting be, hoping that you will not sink, 

Not despair, but taking courage, staying alive
in the body that is failing you, 
leaving your mind clear, witnessing your life,
watching yourself more disabled physically, 
I could almost see your essence taking flight,
more spiritually able.

I cannot tell you how soon
my death will appear, the archway is clear
in the distance I can see the exit sign. 
I do not know how to calculate fewer days
to live the mission given to my life. I do know
I must be serious, now…for

We must play in God’s field of possibilities. 

When I encounter someone like you
someone close to death’s corridor, 
I reach out, not just because I care but because
I am reaching with infinite patience, 
with mystical desperation, joy extended into fascination,
a touch of terror, passing through the veil, 

I am reaching with them, through them. 

Keep me in mind when you need me. 
I will come to you, I will find my makeup, 
the silly hat, the oversized shoes,
dressed in the shirt with the big black buttons, 
the pure white gloves, and a cane to help me
as I wobble into your room

I will smile, not one painted over my grief, 
but true as the gentle tear. 
Hand in your hand, your spirit guide, 
if you need me to be, for your see, 
I need you, we all need you, drawing near
as we make this journey into the light.

 

Richmond, VA