JOHN NO LONGER SPEAKS

John no longer speaks.
His noises are weak, guttural.
Not quite groans or moans;
incoherent exhalations
of breath held in waiting.
Debating whether this one
would be his last, or followed
by yet another exasperated swell.

John is unaware.
He does not care who fills his room.
The gloom is mocked by the trappings
of a Christmas in suspension.
The tension no longer affects him.
The soft stroke of a comforting hand
is an irritant allowed to be,
he no longer has the words to speak.

John does not see.
Eyes closed to the world around him,
darkness has found him and covers
him like a shroud. His expression
is grotesque. Mouth disfigured,
a gaping maw twisted,
hands tightly fisted and he no longer
has the fight in him to use them.

John is unresponsive.
Recognition is a condition long vacated,
we have waited in silent vigil, sentinels
to the oncoming barrage, his last stand.
John demands nothing, he knows nothing,
he feels nothing but an existence
that had abandoned him long ago.
He shows signs of distress.

John does not find comfort.
A silent wish to go home for Christmas,
not the four walls he once ruled
but a place where pain is eased,
where his eyes see the Wonder,
where under an azure sky he rests
in eternal vigil; the peace he seeks.
John no longer speaks.

© Walter J Wojtanik, 2014

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