You held my hand
Quite literally
In the end
My heart gave a lurch and
I gasped
Quite literally too. 

For years we had walked
Side by side
Separate, contained
I, too afraid
To stretch out my hand
To you and
You, quite unaware
That hands are meant to be held.

Now, as the heart monitor
Bleeps urgently
The erratic lines
Eerily luminous
Jumping about
In a frantic last jig  
Then sinking tired
Falling flat, motionless
You uncurl your fist
Unfold your feelings
Place your fingers into mine
Your ear near my lips
Hoping to hear
A few lasting words
Of comfort
Sputter through
My fading breath
Getting steadily slower
Not restful, each one
Labouring to return
Till there is no next.

No matter now what we say
Or if you hold my hand
I have learnt to journey
Alone, and
That is how it shall stay. 

Curl back your fingers
Gather your emotions, stack them
In neat compartments of your mind
Where they shall lie
Powerless, undisturbed
Till you can no longer
Summon them, no matter
How hard you try.

~~~

Linked to The Poetry Pantry at Poets United

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