Dotage

Dwindling

His days grow longer, life shorter.

Long, deep rest a rarity

sleep snack sized

over day, over night.

Memories, fears, worries,

all the things yet undone,

all the people still to protect

Things to haunt him.

New pants raise the question

Cost against remaining time.

On the good days, there is no truck with the morbid,

Partaking gleefully of his jamun

vetting the dosa for texture

A whole life spent on the big picture

But never losing pleasures of the minutae.

Gloom lurks behind the door

an ill-timed joke away

a mildly harsh word

and he clams up, the visage offended,

words minimal now.

At dinner, he chokes on the rice

And we watch, having seen it before

willing him to swallow,

end this reminder of mortality

Surely the mighty banyan will not be felled by a puny grain.

He has grown into the immense shadow he casts,

Will he be allowed grace and peace

In this too short, yet too-long

dotage?


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