Another Road by Sheila Templeton

Another Road

I am writing this book because we’re all going to die – in the loneliness of my own life.    Jack Kerouac

Loneliness. That thin place looking

at something which is three dimensional

but it’s pressed flat against the glass.

I remember the drive

the wild night those spiney trees

lashed senseless in too great a hurry

to drop their leaves. Wondering

if the old blue Ford

would manage the miles.

The hospital.

The dog needing water. Carrying

that stupid pink plastic bowl

across the car-park, then running

running up endless stairs

hearing you long before

I saw you. Nobody ever tells you

how the dying take a breath.

You can’t imagine.

Then the priest – and his shouting

yes he shouted your name loud in your ear

and you opened your eyes, pulled

pin-head pupils to consciousness

little jet beads far back in your head

you dragged them forward, desperate

to hear his words. My daughter…  

and your mouth smiled.

I never was so pleased

to see a priest. I got to look

one last time into your eyes.

Your breath moved up your chest

quiet now. For a moment you looked

like you used to look, about to wake

of a morning before we brought you tea,

then that breath moved right up

to the hollow of your throat, just a sigh.

And you’d gone. That’s how it was.