by Simon Hamid
I trembled very gently inside,
When the old man with a stroke,
Told me “thank you” in his own language.
He didn’t know if I understood,
But he said it anyway.
Saying it so quietly,
Like a sleeper’s 4 am sigh.
I knew what he said.
I did nothing but help him put his shirt on,
Dragging his dead arm through a coarse, sun-yellow shirt,
Tugging on a ragged, pilled sleeve,
I persuaded his crooked and stiff arm through.
I wonder when I will stop feeling…
How will I know I don’t care anymore?
Perhaps when I won’t have to wipe my eyes,
Blinking in the glaring whiteness of the hospital bathroom,
Pretending allergies or yawning is making me sniffle.
Maybe I won’t have to try to be harsh and cold then,
Because I really am.
Could it be, that I will always care, and be sad,
Grieving these patients’ loss for them?
But now…on this day…the man in yellow looks like a grandfather,
And I wish I didn’t feel.