I have sprung a leak, am taking on water.
Perhaps in my sleep, I drifted across
a ragged rock or coral reef.
It's not yet dangerous: no sound
of swooshing in the hold.
But it's only a matter of time.
I have presented myself
with an arbitrary date: forty weeks,
a spiritual pregnancy.
The bell rang for my birth and marriage;
it's time now for the third bell.
I have to learn how to die,
to die with dignity; not sign off
a snarky, snivelling wretch.
I am practicing stoicism.
I am loving more deeply
the things that matter: visits from friends,
music, light on the walnut tree.
It's been several years since I have seen
the night sky; so I will be taken out
to drink my fill of moon and stars.
“Virgin namesake, moon-Queen at night fall.”
Or, the Duchess of Malfi's magic words:
“Look you, the star shines still.”
My mind wavers and I wonder at times
whether I can retain my stubbornness.
But then I remember the hardship
of each days waking,
remember I can no longer consent
to the pain and endurance,
nor transform them into any
I am asked whether I will find it hard
to say goodbye. But, consider
how many times I have already said it:
feeding, cleaning, dressing myself
turning over in bed
walking, singing, playing the piano,
cooking, stitching my tapestry,
hugging my friends from their or my need.
The list could go on forever.
I have lived, so far, nearly three
of the forty weeks yet to come.
There will be only one ending,
an ending I must learn to trust.