Helen ignored her health, and it finally caught up with her.
|That unexpected knocking was a wheeze|
of terror in the breath of early morning.
Startled from my rapid eye movement,
I groped for a measure of comprehension,
and dashed to the door. My elderly neighbor,
breathless and pale, holding to the ledge
of panic with weak fingernails, fearing
for his wife. Then a snap-like sequence
ending in a plea, and a rapid return
unto his stricken love.
I stood on the icy porch and listened
as the siren slashed the pre-dawn quiet
like the plaintive wail of a mass extinction.
In the glare of lights that made me squint,
I waved an arm overhead, and directly
paramedics were hurrying down stairs
through the door. A drop of perspiration
quivered above Tom's lip; he searched
for keys, stirring like a question mark
in blue slippers and half-buttoned
Helen ignored the charity of her health
for over thirty years; no doctor looked
into her eyes. Perhaps it was the throw-rug
of pride under which she swept improvidence;
I do not know. But a diamond will not sparkle
when enshrouded in a tomb. Another species,
a gray, bewildered cat, remained beneath the
kitchen table, motionless. Early on a Saturday,
fine crystal fell to jagged rock, as I looked down
to witness the consequence of neglect.
Writer’s Cramp Winner