The Smell Of Death
by Debi Swim
They urged me forward, “Go say hello”
they said, but he was asleep… I hoped,
sleeping behind the wrinkles of pain.
I tried to remember him tall and gentle,
a shy smile lighting his eyes, toting the black
bag he carried to doctor sick animals.
He took us kids on calls sometimes
in his 1940s Chrysler Sedan.
By that time he was retired,
just doctoring as a favor and passing time.
But now walking into this quiet room, shades pulled,
the sounds of shallow puffs through thin lips,
an occasional quiet moan, sheet drawn over
yellowed parchment skin and sharp bones
frightened me. My first face to face
with the ancient foe, and I’ll always recall
the smell of death not quite disguised
beneath the medicinal scent of Lysol.
Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 315.
Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.