Tethered to the long green line
that runs from the tank,
she spends her time
turned toward the windows
of what she used to call
her living room.
She’s in remarkably good health for a dying woman:
nothing really hurts,
everything else works
with both mind and body.
But a few steps across the floor
leaves her gasping for air,
even with the supplemental oxygen.
Since she cannot sustain enough breath
she hesitates to call anyone
and the visitors become more few
and the visits farther between.
I sit in the chair
where her husband died slowly
nearly ten years ago
and now it seems only half that time to me
and at least twice that long to her.
Sometimes the silence filters around us,
and we sit together,
waiting for the ending that will not come
We talk about loss and flowers,
blooms and seeds,
and how a ripe peach from the tree
is the only one worth eating.
~ Doc Arnett
Doc Arnett is the director of Institutional Research at the oldest college in Kansas. A native of West Kentucky, he and his wife, Randa, live in Doniphan County and share twenty grandkids. Doc enjoys singing, playing guitar, writing, remodeling, pastoring a small church and competing in mud runs.