Hope is Having Someone Waiting For You

THE TIME I DIDN’T STAY

I watched you die
not your last breath
not your great exhale
but years before
when it all began

the slow decline
the dropped memories
and forgotten faces
I watched you forget me
as you slowly died

taking ten years
or more
we’ll never know
the true beginning
of the end

but as it neared
you asked to go
go to your parents
standing right there
in front of you

they so alive to you
you so confused
why couldn’t you go
with them when they
were both so close

waiting on the corner
on the street where
you grew up
you wanted to join them
long dead and I

told you it was ok to go
a stranger giving you
permission to die
you called my name
as though I weren’t there

months passed before
your final breath
the time I didn’t stay
but I had said good-bye
in my own way

telling you it was safe
to cross the street

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