The Sick, the Well, the In-between

by my dear friend Caroline Donnola

The Sick, the Well, the In-between

The body parts begin to fail,
each taking its own time
to ache, break, unravel.

The aging heart
slows down/speeds up,
while cancer cells multiply,
indifferent to our history
of a healthy routine.

The shoulder gets weaker,
the bones turn brittle,
the nervous system
plays its games.

Some friends are seriously ill,
while the heartier ones
play nursemaid.
We stroke their hair,
bring them nourishment,
swap old stories,
warm their spirits.
Or do they warm ours?

We don’t say, What about me?
but we wonder it all the same.
We try to put a positive spin
on this last stretch of years.
We plan to travel,
paint, write, or knit.

But we’re not in control.
We don’t know our expiration date.

We think, but don’t say,
I’m dreading the thought
of a drawn-out death.
We think, but don’t say,
I don’t want to be
the last one standing.

We decide, again and again,
to live anyway—
baking cookies
driving to the country
singing in the car
feeling the cool air on our necks.

We do these things
while our loved ones
struggle to heal.
the sick, the well, and the in-between—
we learn from our challenges
and stay close to each other,
determined to be together
for as long as we can.

Determined, most of all,
to love—
more truly, more deeply
than we have ever loved before.

7 thoughts on “The Sick, the Well, the In-between

  1. Hi Harry, ahhh, good to see you’re composing again! and guess you’re in ‘all of the above’. really. anyway, sure gooood talking with you the other day! and gotta assume you’re back on The Upper West Side, sitting in a d-e-l-u-x chair, overlooking the mountains, and having ALL your needs tended to! down here all is well – suitcase is packed and ready. tomorrow, off to NYC. there, some archival work and Friday!! Berlin!!! will check in again. sure a big relief to ALL that you are doing so much better!! so, keep the healing going, keep the good spirits moving!! we all need those. take care, my friend, bob ________________________________


  2. Nodding my head, a little teary, smiling at baked cookies (think I can even smell them!) Glad you’ re writing poems. Thanks Harry!


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