Popshot Magazine

Illustration by Grace Lanksbury


This beautiful poem by Ash Dean was written when he was caring for his terminally ill great-grandmother. Illustration by Grace Lanksbury.

To me, she was always all wrinkles,

As frail as eggshell and embellished with lace.

My lasting image is of her beaming face

When she opened the door

But the more I age the less I can ignore

Another scene projecting in my head

Of her sitting still in a hospital bed

And the first time her smile ever struck me

As forced and stuck.

She reached out for my hand like a child and froze,

Staring vacantly past me as I nervously smiled.

Her mouth began to gape

As if waiting for something deep to escape

So her tongue could prise it from her stomach.

“I’m scared Ashley, I don’t want to die,

What will happen to me?”

And I could see that with all her humility

She could not allow herself the comfort of eternal grace

But just a simple space

Awaiting her.

Tearful, she waited for me to stir.

I could only think

How someone so open and joyful had forever led me towards a glow

And how in this togetherness still

I follow where her feelings go.

“I’m scared too,

I don’t want to lose you.

I don’t know what comes after life,

No one does,

So we call it death

And attach to it things to cling on to.

But I don’t want you to worry yourself.

Embrace love.

Embrace all the happiness you have had

And carry it through every moment until your last.

What is yours in the last can never be lost.”

Delicate, we rested, heavy with feeling,

Sharing not words

But the thin protection of our being.


This poem featured in The Mystery Issue of Popshot Quarterly.

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