Hospice || William Marshall

I could see the battle raging
inside you, your face yellow
and drained. They brought
the good stuff—morphine.

It was a one-way flight,
a few months of confused guests,
no turning back, inside out
day after day, slurping red tea
with Kübler-Ross
on the ceiling and you, dreaming
of a third stage bargain
with a horrible disease.

Being counseled by your wife,
this was not a dream.
You slump, fading in front
of a familiar hedgerow
that you used to cut
and paint your gin olives
green at dusk.

Your head lowers
to the ghost behind the wall
of books you collected
over forty-four years,
each one saying goodbye.

This was originally published in Fall 2017 edition of The Helix.