To watch you die by inches seemed too much,
and yet day by day it was undeniable;
so you decided to do things
(as always)
your own way; and then found
your iron will could not quite master
your stalwart body.

That sturdy frame which carried you
faithfully year after year
held you here
with its own intractable will to live;
so you (stubborn still)
retreated to someplace else
and waited.

On the next-to-last day
I kissed kissed kissed the weathered hand,
still hard as oak, still thick with callous-
and you smiled at me from that faraway place.

The next day,
while I sat alone at the dining table-
not an apostle, not a guest-
they wheeled your gaunt and
empty frame away.
They did not cover your face;
I was glad you were not there to see it.

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