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So this is life

By: Verita



Photo by Khunying Chamnongsri Hanchanlash


So this is life,

And what’s left of it.


These pale,

-once working hands,

with flowing green and blue canals of veins.

These stiff,

-once colored cheeks,

with sweetest scent of powder and perfume.

Dead ice-cold forehead,

-once warm thoughts lived and roamed,

Seeping out through the wrinkled bark.

Bald head, patches of gray hair,

-once long and soft,

like lilies to a baby’s touch.


I sighed as the hospice people,

Gently laid down the shroud,

On these twisted lips,

And blank stone face.


Before pushing her away,


Away,

From her cozy little bed,

-the sheets still damp with stigmas of struggle.


Away,

Stripping her away slowly, cruelly,

From the big house she’s built,

From the professional title she’s gained,

From her loving roles of Daughter, Mother, Wife…

Sister, Cousin, Friend, Aunt…

She’s born into.


They pushed her,

Passed the old wooden piano,

-her little chapel of church songs,

Passed the kitchen sink,

-her secret sanctuary,

Passed windows overlooking the garden

-her weekend office.


So this is life,

And what’s left of it.


Now that the service’s done,

Songs were sung,

Poems were read,

Eulogies soaked in tears,

Daisies, Roses,

last mounds of earth thrown in,


Now,

People in black,

Stamp around her house,

Eating on her plate, playing with her dog.

Chatting before her pictures,

Using her toilet.


Little nieces and nephews bounce on her naked bed,

Sisters huddle together to pray,

And her piano moans,

Along with the living orchestra,

Of dishes clanging heavily,

-an overture from the sink,

Of old women’s delicious laughter,

-an aria from the garden.

Of the living room TV’s mantra

And the divine flushing of the toilet.

Her porch is filled with curtains of cigar smoke,

Her kitchen is filled with hot and spicy fume,

From chilly sauce and basil leaves.


All this contribute to the show.


I see her soul rise slowly,

From the saucepan.

The Prima Donna.


These people, her colleagues,

mere acquaintances,

Audiences who cannot see,

Pat my back soothingly,

Saying I should be glad,

-She’s gone peacefully

And she’ll be having a quiet moment

With someone above, eternally-


I smile and look around,

Amused by this popular fiction.

For what I see in this noisy house,

This full-packed theatre,

is, simply,


her life.


And in those perspiring faces,

Of delightful spectators,


the remains of her love.


At twenty I’ve learned a lesson,


That there’s no such peaceful death.

As there’s no such peaceful life

before or after it.


There is just


life,


And what’s left of it.



In Memoriam

Auntie Daisy Erpe Callanan M.D.

November 17, 1943

October 19, 2003

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