Ron Pretty

A Flicker of Eyelids

She plays the what if game, only
it isn’t a game. She wants to know
what can’t be known, not yet.
Some things she won’t accept, and who
could blame her, though we know
there is no happy ending. What if he wakes,
and I’m not there, what kind of a wife
is that? Love, we say, her aching parents,
it’s eighteen months and still
no sign. What if he’s in there, what if
that flicker of eyelids means his mind
is still working but just can’t show us?

We look at one another: how can we
remind her of the xrays, brain scans, all
the gadgetry modern medicine has brought
to diagnosis. Asleep on the bed, can he
possibly remember what we all recall:
a summer morning, a bicycle, a car
that did not stop in time, a coma
that shows no sign of ending. Day after
day she sits by his bed, watching that
tiny flicker of eyelid. Each morning, she knows,
is the next day of the rest of his life.
What if today’s the day he wakes, she says.

 
Back to top