QUESTIONS OF A DYING OLD MAN
His net was dry and become brittle
Anyone could see it hadn’t been cast
In many months
The foaming sea roiled on the breaking waves
Outside his hut, the baking sun burned the pebbles on the beach
The old man lay in his bed covered in sweat
A memory stash of years had passed
Since he felt well enough to cast a net
But a man must eat
He had made one last effort to get up
To go outside, pickup the net, put it on the boat
And cast off
His heart was willing,
But his body weakened with exhaustion
Deterred him from even trying
He fell back in bed
Such was the end of an old man
Who fished to put food on the table,
But now in his time of need
His government turned its back on him
Where was his social security
His pension, his medical aid?
He lay awake in pain
Some would say he hadn’t worked long enough
To earn help from the government,
But he had worked all his life
Doesn’t that count for something?
Others would say he hadn’t done anything for his fellowman,
But did they not remember that one winter, when he had fed the whole village
Singlehandedly, had they forgotten that?
Or the time he took severely ill children across the bay to see the doctor
And the children survived,
But this time, no help came to the old man on this sweltering hot day,
He lay in his bed of snarled sheets sopping with sweat
This is how my life ends, he sobbed,
Nobody to care if I die or help from nobody
What’s a life for, if not to help care for his fellowman
Simply a little sympathy, compassion, or love
Is that too much to ask?
I am a man! Am I a human being?
Don’t I deserve some concern?
Lord, don’t desert me now!
I stand alone as the day I was born sans mother
But then, maybe that’s why people need each other
Alone, no person stands
everyone needs some one there at the inevitable end
to feel their hand and sense the final warmth
to say the last goodbye as your soul departs.
Copyright © norberto franco cisneros | Year Posted 2017
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