Not the End

1 November 2012

You had red hands
put too much salt on food
hugged with tight arms
boomed Bach from downstairs
shouted at me for sleeping in
drove the car off the road
lied about how much you drank
made ginger beer that exploded
under the house
told me our neighbour David dropped
dead and didn’t comfort me when I cried
I wondered why it was him
and not you
you invited a stranger
to my sister’s engagement dinner
called me in India to see
if the earthquake had killed us
smoked Dunhill International
and decorated the Christmas tree
not with tinsel but painstaking pieces
of delicate silver rain
you had a pain and you
stopped eating
looked confused when the woman
came to talk about respite
you kept falling down
and we couldn’t lift you
the last time
you turned yellow
and the nurses said you were comfortable
at an Easter church service
I saw for an instant
that death is not the end
then I forgot again
and wished time would stop
you were in the audience
of a show I did
this was after you died
and the director said
it was the best performance
I’d ever given and could you
please come every night
I haven’t seen you since

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