some things wont be stopped

a man came in the door
to see a doctor about his breathing

his hands were wrinkled and tanned
i imagined them patting the head of a good dog

his wife wandered the house while he was here
confused
because he’s not there

she set the table for two
and then four and then ten

i took the man’s history, asked him what his allergies were

she took off the sheets from their bed
because she supposed
she left him there

the man coughed violently, i put oxygen under his nose

she cried
and moved the dresser in front of the window

the doctor wanted the man to stay
pneumonia had settled in his frail lungs

she hid in the closet
tasted her salty tears
held his scratchy flannel shirt to her cheek

the man smiled at me, patted my hand
he must go
he must go home to his wife
she is alone
she does not like to be alone

he took small steps to the door
he paused to cough
this i cannot stop

mary jane mantzke
6 years ago
Very moving....Thank you for sharing!

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

An explosive device was detonated outside the offices of the Mexican bishops' conference, directly across the street from the country's most visited religious site, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. walks from the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as he steers the Senate toward a crucial vote on the Republican health care bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Republican proposals “exclude too many people, including immigrants,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said in a statement.
Without quite knowing it, I had begun to rely on the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
Elizabeth BruenigJuly 25, 2017
A demonstration for affordable health care in New York City on July 13. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate July 21 to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act in a more narrow way, rather than repeal it without an adequate replacement. (CNS photo/Andrew Gombert, EPA)
The sisters say that they are “most troubled by the cuts it would make to Medicaid by ending the Medicaid expansion and instituting a per capita cap [on spending].”