An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine

She Cannot Let Him Go

by Nancy Smiler Levinson

Not yet
even though dementia
has ravished his memory,
his mind, his self—
then pneumonia (the old man’s friend)
then infection
agonizing catheter
and bleeding out—
hospital bed
in the living room
hydraulic canvas contraption
withered body
broom stick legs
in spasm
organs shutting down
turned and turned
She kisses his burning brow
thickens his fluids
purees his food—protein—
spoon by spoon


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