Hetty Startup, public historian

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Living As An Alien

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There is less of me than before.
Pieces missing, thin strips of tape
I peel off carefully, a scar
that sweeps across emptiness.
We were so full of holiday plans,
timetables, organising collections,
meeting deadlines, rushing,
running, shouting hurry, hurry.
Now there is only the stillness
of the rain against the window.
But when you helped me so slowly,
so carefully into that first bath
after surgery, the bubbles
humming hallelujah,
and you looked at me
not as some broken, battered alien being
but with such patience, such kindness,
I thought this is what forever means,
in sickness and in health.

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