The Dying of the Light

My friend Steve Deutsch has a fine new poem in Borfski Press Magazine.  Please visit his blog and leave comments for him there.

We found my mother
on the third floor
of a hospital
that should have been shuttered
in the 80’s.
The lights were dim
and the walls and halls
so covered in filth
it seemed they
had absorbed the misery
of the past 30 years
and the anguish would no longer
wash away.

It wasn’t hard to find mom.
She screamed “Help me”
every couple of minutes.
We heard her from the elevator
above the endless beeping
and the garbled sounds
from the PA system.
The fact that we
were now with her
did not alleviate her need to scream.
Nor did reasoning.

She had fallen again
and broken her tailbone.
She was 95 and failing
and I was the good son—
the one who answered the call
at 2 AM,
booked the 1000 mile trips
and tried to find a place
where she could end her days
in comfort.
It was rewarding in an exhausting way.
Finding, unexpectedly,
I was the one to be counted on.

But, listen,
there is just so much
we can do for one another.
There are limits to prerogatives
of blood.
We practice love,
not magic
and when,
in a moment of lucidity
she stared at my face—
a face she had known
my whole life,
and said,
“I’m dying,”
“Save me.”
I was again
as helpless
as the infant
she had held
to her breast.

– Steven Deutsch
First published in Borfski Press Magazine 
Photo source

13 thoughts on “The Dying of the Light

  1. Powerful piece. Both heartbreaking and well written. Terribly heart wrenching, when it’s your mother (Steve’s) and the fact that we cannot fight death. His reference to Dylan’s poem in the title was also very fitting. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” also considering that these are words Dylan begged of his dying father. To fight. But in the end, at some point we can’t fight more. Death is a terrible reality & it’s the unknown. I can see why he’d feel so helpless, like an infant. Perhaps though, on the other side, at least I believe there is hope of something much better. No crying pain or mourning, b/c “the old order,” how things are on earth, has passed away. Perhaps his mother s spirit is alive and happy somewhere, no longer trapped in a body that had a limited life span. Powerful piece again. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Heartbreaking. I just spent two days with a sister lost in the throes of Allzheimer’s. Trying to discover how to help her, I felt like a bird floundering at a window. No way to the other side.

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  3. I read someone who said that Alzheimer’s was dying by inches. The pain for the people who love the patient is overwhelming. Trust that you’ll know her needs, and remember that line of Steve’s poem, “…we practice love, not magic.”

    Liked by 1 person

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