Day 22: You Can If You Try

This was my really short love story for The Modern Team at NYT. 100 words. But it was also my Write Your Grief prompt from Megan Devine that asks Can you imagine?
So many folks say, “I can’t imagine…” I argue.

I can’t imagine… You can if you try.

Walk in a hospital room. He is connected to tubes through his iv port. Pulse and oxygen continually monitored. Last temperature read 107.2. Television on, eyes closed. You turn off the tv and sit. “Sweetheart, we need to talk.”

Eyes flicker open.

Deep breath in and begin. “You are really sick. We can’t fix your cancer and you are going to die.”

“What?”, he says indignantly. “I don’t want to die!”

“I know, love. I don’t want you to die. None of us want to die, but we all do; there is nothing that we can do.”

You can if you try.

The Wild Iris,” by Louise Gluck

At the end of my suffering there was a door.
Hear me out: that which you call death,
I remember. Overhead, noises, branches of pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive consciousness buried in the dark earth

Then it was over: that which you fear, being a soul and unable to speak,
ending abruptly, the stiff earth bending a little.
And what I took to be birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever returns from oblivion returns to find a voice:

From the center of my life came a great fountain, deep blue shadows
on azure seawater.

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