They say the stars are so old,
so far away
it takes so long for their light to reach us
that they've burnt out
before our feeble eyes
can see their glory reach us
and all we see is what once was.
There will be no doctors,
no antiseptic smells,
or drooping half smiles and weak handshakes.
You will play the guitar for me
as I twirl and clap.
You will pour over my sketchbooks,
guide my hands with yours.
We will walk in the mountains
as you repeat the legends
of those who were here before us.
There will be no nurses
carrying your bedpan
and insulting you with your first name,
no machines pumping air into your windpipe
so you can only mouth what you want to say.
You will stand straight and tall,
your quiet dignity will require the same
of those who approach.
Yet your smile will be sunlight after rain
and melt the winter snow.
Your words will carry weight
and no one will mistake your meaning.
There will be no sadness or tears,
and, dear God, there will not be that rope
with you dangling from it.
There will only be the mischievous twinkle in your eye.
There will be gardens of your produce,
your rice pudding,
you sharing a sandwich with the barn cat,
you fixing any mechanical thing that man ever made.
You will carry the offering plate to the altar,
and your baritone voice will echo on the hymns.
There will be no broken-hearted waiting
for a last breath
while your unfocused eyes stare at nothing.
Your laugh will bounce around the room
like a pinball.
Your crochet hook and knitting needles
will click and fly
as the blankets and clothes grow.
I will see your eyes peer through the curtains.
checking to see if we are home.
And your unexpected visit
will be the fresh breeze let in
after the windows are open the first day in Spring.
You are my stars
hung in the midnight sky.
Though you have flickered
like a candlewick about to give its last light
before the wisp of smoke rises
I still see your light,
your glory shines brightly
in the darkest night
and it guides my path.