Last Wish by Cheryl Snell

Last Wish

The young man in the bed is the son of the old man who bends low enough over him to catch the words shave me, so he opens the bag he has brought with him, unzips his shaving case, pulls out the brush with the soft white bristles, the kind he taught his son to shave with, and thinking it will be gentle enough for him now, beard sparse from treatments and meds, the father brushes on a cloud of foam, bristles touching down like wings on the son who tilts his head back for the long moment before he relaxes his sunken shoulders with a sigh, lids fluttering to a close above dark bruised sockets, leaving his father to finish the task alone, and then kiss his boy on each smooth cheek before he begins his heavy walk through hospital grounds, already lost in the garden of dying flowers and the sting of antiseptic.

by Cheryl Snell


Editor’s Note: This prose poem is one long sentence that feels like the last breath of a long, difficult journey, yet the last image is not so much that of grieving as it is love.


2 responses to “Last Wish by Cheryl Snell”

  1. Ralph Culver Avatar

    A fine poem.

  2. Shutta Crum Avatar
    Shutta Crum

    Moving . . .

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