Eight Weeks

I was given a great gift, eight weeks
To daily, gather leaves, feathers
Nature-splendour, shining like shook foil
For her window-sill shrine

Eight weeks, to gather ourselves
To gather each other
Fifty six nights, from phone call
To last breath

My hands held
On heart, stomach
Solar plexus
With the mantra
All will be well
Every night
Breathing myself
Back together, anew

Fifty six days, to see her people
Watch them banter and cackle
Playing bedside bridge

Fifty six days, not more, to celebrate her birthday
Finish things, worldly, prosaic and beyond

Fifty six days, to buy her shampoo
And extravagant, etherial nightgowns
To have day trip escapades
And rankle some more

Fifty six days, to listen, to speak
To sit in the chapel
And have her ask solemnly, for forgiveness

The great gift of eight days
To watch the morphine stop working so well
To gather closer, anoint her with
Lemon-scented water, lavender flannels
And balm on her lips

Eight hours, to hold her, bathe her, breathe with her
Stroke her dry hand, listen more deeply
As her feet grew cold

Eight or eight hundred minutes
Timeless time, alone
To say goodbye

She gave birth to me, yet
I was her doula, at the end
Prepared through her suffering
Spirit, and wisdom
For it to be better
This time around

(c) Poem – Libby Davy

(c) Illustration – Michael Leunig

 

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