Encouraging Aidan

Deep in his bowels
a bug rages, Pneumonia
holding him hostage, and I watch
as Adam tries to swallow
I count the gasps, and
adjust his oxygen
Suction equipment, and
meds in applesauce

I place my hand on his,
to encourage his supper
of pureed meat and liquid
vegetables

His hands reach out,
shaky, to grasp the styrofoam cup
filled with a thick cocoa drink

Ninety one is a long time, '
he tells me, and I watch
him force his muscles
to work, to swallow slowly
and careful not to choke
on his own fluids

' I have my funeral all arranged, '
he tries to tell me,
We paid for it long ago.'
I bring the cup back to his mouth,
'One more sip, ' I encourage,

Imagining the warmth of
the first day in June
the gurgling sounds of water
over rocks, the sounds of
birds flying overhead,
And Aiden in a lounge chair,
soaking up the sun.

by Louise Marie DelSanto

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