Before the Last Visit to the Vet

The smell of the sick-house lingers
where the medicines are mixed;
even fresh washed clothes and fingers
tend to keep the reek of it.

The taste of food is changed,
its scent turned sour and stale,
reducing appetites to nil
and turning faces pale.

Continued deathwatch, so it seems;
each act, each meal observed,
a constant examination, hoping
for improvement’s curve.

A day’s reprieve, perhaps a week
of seeming health and vigor;
and then, relapse. The problems
only seem to grow or linger.

What quality of life is this,
just watching for some sign
that she is half of what she was,
not weary and resigned

to constant medication
and injections, week by week?
Would she consent to letting go,
if she could only speak?

10 AUG 2005

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