There was always someone there to pick up the tab,
always someone to invite you across,
to share one with you, order the next,
go on with you to wherever was next,
to carry you home.
There was always someone there to overcome
your best intentions, to subvert
your attempts at discipline, to encourage those deep desires
you hated and cried over
but could never escape.
Now the bright lights are dimmed, the music no longer plays;
under subdued fluorescents
the bedside machines with their steady beep
measure out the minutes into hours.
There was always someone there,
but now there is no-one,
only the efficient nurses, and the one gentle soul
who had done most of her crying long before tonight,
and yet somehow still cares, cannot cease to care,
sees still under the tangle of lines and drips the used-to-be,
the original untouched soul,
the open smile that stole her heart,
the hopeful days.
And when the machines stop, it will be her hand
that will touch and close your tired eyes.