Hanging On


This morning, when Dad was half-drugged by sleep,

He raised on one elbow and peered through one eye.

In an epiphany of realization

He saw a dear yet old woman lying nearby.


For in the night a metamorphous had occurred,

Which, without a word,

Had transformed his tender wife

Into a withered grape.


Feeling the need for companionship

And suffering from the confusions of age,

Dad softly cried, "Where is she?

Where is my gift, my once-youthful bride

Who lifted daily my confidence and pride?"


The ancient lady awakened, turned slightly,

And struggled to brightly say, "Good morning, Hubert."

She then placed her soft hand on Dad's arm,

Closed her brown eyes, and lightly drifted back to sleep.


Over the years, Mom's skin

Gradually lost its will to stretch tautly.

Now in weakness, her old shell sagged

And quietly absorbed from her crumpled pillow

New wrinkles upon the old.


But, in spite of the stark recognition of his wife's losses,

Dad carefully touched this gentle granny,

For he remembered the light of her pure, once-firm face,

And he remembered the fire and might

Of her youthful embrace.


For years, Dad had sipped the nectar and bliss

Of an enduring marriage.

Now, tilting his head slightly, he whispered,

"Your ripening doesn't matter. I'll always hang on."


Having finished the thought,

Dad fought back and released a tear.

Leaning now on two elbows, he brought his lips

Near Mom's wilting cheek

And kissed away his fear.


Allen Hackworth 2000