Fragments Of Time

Entry by: Guesswho

6th October 2022
First Born
(A father’s lament)

Almost a stillbirth,
twenty-eight weeks, then
just an hour of life.
So, not quite still, but still
long enough to live and die.

I rushed to the hospital,
but by the time I arrived
and had a chance
to hold him,
he had already gone.

It was just his hand I held,
though I still remember
a little wrinkled face,
lined with a wisdom
I couldn’t comprehend.

As if he held his breath,
his mouth was closed,
as were his eyes.
I never saw his eyes and
he never saw my guilty tears.

Then, registering
a birth and death
arrival and departure
at a single stroke.

I followed her efficient eyes
behind bi-focals as
she wrote in black ink
the details and date
in duplicate.

Then to an undertaker
near the hospital
where I signed away
those precious remnants
with an ancient face.

At the crem’ they
simply slipped him in
with another funeral,
I don’t know when,
they never said.

That’s just the way
they did things then
with those
that barely lived
then died,

no earth to earth,
no dust,
no cries,
no ashes,
no goodbyes.

I can only hope his tiny hand
was held and guided by another
as they rose together
in the balmy evening air.

Now, all I see are
bright summer days
stitched together by
threads of darkness,

a mosaic of
broken memories
scattered upon
the stony ground
of recollection.