Some people say death is beautiful.
There is nothing beautiful about washing my dying grandpa,
his floppy skin sticky, smelling like he’s starting to turn.
There’s a certain smell when the body starts to die. And I want to crawl beneath the covers
and hold my grandpa’s body the way I used to when it was still warm.
I want to breathe my grandpa in the way I used to when he still smelled like
Instead, I shift awkwardly in his hospital bed, looking for a corner of space
not wet with urine. It’s time to change the bedding again.
Why do they make us sit so long with a rotting body?
Veterinarians got it right.
My sister talks about the way they got to spend their final moments
With Zizou, hands to paws
they stroked her and fed her bites of
bacon and sausage tenderly.
She could still swallow.
My grandpa can’t swallow anymore.
Zizou smiled as she drifted off
If my grandpa makes noises, they are moans of
suffering. He thrashed and screamed in agony for three hours
until he was pumped full of enough morphine to knock out
a horse. He sleeps now, as we wait
with my grandfather’s body,
wishing we could have said goodbye
back when he was still my grandpa.