Any Day Now by Miriam O’Donovan

Any Day Now

Yesterday, for instance, I spoke to my daughter from my hospital bed.
It was a happy phone call, we ebbed
and flowed as we have done since she was conceived.
Today, in a coma, assisted at points of ingress and egress,
from me according to my ability, to me according to my need,
a low-tide swirl of slow surrender and shallows struggle,
and still her voice,
in my head.
Any day on which I am alive
is a day on which I must
be alive.

Your inert body, your hidden mind
still compel so much from so many.
You understand for them, in their white coats, as they do for you,
you would not die and they would not let you.
The best you hope for is
from you according to your ability,
to you according to your need.
A symbiosis between the dying and the living.
For these seconds only? Minutes? Hours?
Somebody should tell you why.
Send multi-coloured coats that you may all be doctors,
let the living heal and heed the living!
Any day on which you are alive is a day on which you
must keep and in your turn be kept alive.

They have brought their worried and angry faces
to the silent goodbye, the unaccustomed and restless quiet
as vigorous as any argument over who was loved the best,
who was forgotten or misunderstood
who disappointed whom, or left.
As poignant a pain,
more because it encompasses them all,
this wordless yet eloquent summation of what is or was,
what could have been, what should be, what may yet unfold.
A sudden, revealed simplicity,
we gave so little according to our ability,
took so much that had nothing to do with need.
And now, the unexpected urgency to have, to hold son,
daughter, mother, father, sister,
brother, husband, wife,
stranger and friend.
The crystal moment comes.
And then, will we understand
Any day on which we are alive, is a day on which to live?

Miriam O’Donovan
6th July 2017

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