Treasure Island

Les Littleford

(25 April 1943 / Warwickshire, England)


A friend is dying
and suddenly mortality
is centre stage.

She was so vivacious,
so determined, so
Insistent that we all would gather
some twenty five years hence
to celebrate her ninetieth birthday.

She knew, of course.
Her rational self
had accommodated the truth,
commenced her familiarly meticulous preparations
for that final Stygian trip.

While her other self was in full speed denial,
start a new wardrobe,
new haircut,
more fitting for her next stage
of life.

I see it now.
I did not see it then,
at our last meeting,
Just one year ago.
And on my wife
Normally so controlled,
accepting of the inevitability of death,
I see the impact.

Her sense of helplessness,
Injustice, anger, sorrow:
that one so young,
so always optimistic,
should suffer so.

Her husband adores her,
worships even,
and now seeks solace
in the role of protector,
offering what comfort he can
and posting electronic updates
to shocked recipients
of the seemingly endless invasions
of this most malignant growth.

And this awareness of mortality
prods my own consciousness.
Am I ready?
What if?

A friend is dying
and our world

Submitted: Friday, September 27, 2013
Edited: Friday, September 27, 2013

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