I Should Have


It was  your hazel eyes that anchored me to that  day,
eyes grown so large in your ruined body,
pleading , begging me to leave the mask off your face,
you were dying and you knew it, 
even as we denied it,
burying that terrible truth in small talk
of train schedules and plans for tomorrow’s trip back to sit at your side,
when tomorrow was right there in your eyes.
 You begged for this bit of control,
knowing that the  oxygen was useless where you were going
wanting those last few hours mask-free,
Please leave it off,  you whispered,
your eyes widening into  gigantic pools of grief,
breaking my  broken heart.
The doctors never told us you were dying,
 maybe I should have known,
all the usual signs were there,
and especially telling, 
the nurses wouldn’t look me in the eye.
Putting the mask back on your sad face
was the right thing for them to do,
but your daughter who can still see your hazel eyes
whenever I look in the mirror
could have (should have) let you do it your way.
    Yesterday morning I read  this  poem  here: ‘Life’s A Bitch’  written by Viv Blake  and posted on her blog.   It greatly  moved me and   prompted me to write about my own  father’s last hours, something I’ve never been able to do. 
    If I knew then what I know now, I would have  let him call the shots.