Reach

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I reach for your hand and feel the warmth of your touch, my fingers interlaced with yours as they did when I was a little girl. Remember how you led me through the wooded path which smelled of pine and fallen rain? Remember the strength of your limbs as they moved through the brush and cleared the path for me to follow?

“Home is around the bend,” you said
The words dancing in my head
like little fairies

I hold your hand and look into your sullen eyes dipped in fog
that grows thicker by the hour
I reach for the place which I hope will explain
I reach, but find only empty space
Oh, how I wish I could take the pain away
Oh, how I wish my grasp could keep you
here

Don’t go –
I have a lot to learn from you
Don’t leave –
I have a lot to tell you

Your breath turns shallow and I tighten my hold on your hand
It is my turn to guide you through the wooded path

“Home is around the bend,” I whisper
The words pound the earth like tumbling trees
You nod and tighten your fingers
around mine

Our eyes meet and for that moment
I am your little girl again

But I know from the howling wind that
it waits to carry you home

The warmth of your touch turns cold
I know I must let go

In the silence I hear a single heart beat

… And then
I reach
no
more.

Author’s Note: This poem is written in memory of my father who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer ten years ago this March. In the picture, taken a few hours before he passed, he is holding my then three-year-old son’s hand.

I miss him.

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