For Grampa Keith

The thing about dying in your sleep
Is that they don’t tell you
About the plastic jugs for piss on your bedside table

Bodies fall apart, minds fall in and out of lucidity
And we remain
For ourselves
And for others

And so we might find ourselves
Some day
In an apartment far from home
Near family
With a small bedside table
Cluttered
With plastic jugs

And we may find ourselves
Under that sheet
On top of the protective padding
Swaddled
By those we love
And who still love us
And we might hang on
For as long as we can

The dignity is in the death
It is not in the dying
Yet there is a grace
As we reveal our entirely fallible selves
To exist, in the last moment of twilight
Is much like existing
In the first rays of dawn

Held by others
A body that is not in a state where it can be a body
Remaining

Delighted
To ask about a day
To tell about a dream
To accept a hug, even if
It is too much to move our arms to complete the embrace
To be held is to hold

And to say
Before the sun dips below the horizon
Goodbye for now
And then close your eyes
And smile

— Kelsey D. Atherton (2018)

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About kdatherton

Unpaid thoughts
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