We met in a small white room near the far end of existence.
He lay in bed with his head raised so he could watch the game
on a small TV that hung from the ceiling.
I thought at first he was sleeping
but after a moment his face turned
toward me and slowly his eyes found mine.
“I’m dying you know,” he told me.
“Yes,” I said. That’s why I came.
We shared a few reminiscences.
I covered the back of his hand with my palm.
He tired quickly. I rose to leave and asked, “Can I get you anything?”
“No,” he said, “I have everything I need.”
“Charles,” I asked finally, “What’s it like
to wake up in the morning knowing you are going to die?”
He thought a moment then said,
what’s it like for you to wake up in the morning
and pretend that you’re not.?”