Still Bright Eyes

Creases and crinkles but I only see
Your still bright eyes
Instinctively I know that you were beautiful
Eyes always tell the truth, really

I feel you watch me as I move around your room
Collecting information
Your still bright eyes quietly telling me
How I am still so very young

I ask and you answer, so vulnerable
You believe I just want to help you
Bony fingers wrapped inside translucent flesh
My nearness keeping time with the words you don’t say

Wispy tufts of silver so limp against your face
Smoothing them back I ask for you to tell me what it is you need
What is it that you want
But you say other things and then thank me

Yet I am an interpreter
Numbers, wave-forms, sounds and responses
I sift and make judgements
All the while I see you, really see you

Still bright eyes close and you rest
I see this and smile
At your bedside quietly I come and go
Pausing to touch you and speak with Creator

I hear you calling me
Still bright eyes so filled with fear
And apprehension
I know that you are afraid to die alone

Bright eyes with the wispy silver hair
Close enough so you see past my uniform, my stethoscope, my badge
See into my eyes and listen to my voice
You are not alone

Softly strained voice tells me I am kind
And I am taken aback
Why shouldn’t I be 
You deserve it, I say

Pausing at your door to say goodnight
My shift is over but I won’t wake you
Still bright eyes resting closed
I leave knowing soon they will be closed forever

Outside the evening breeze
Blows against my face
I think about you and the nurse who took my place
Gentle hands and strong hearts

Still bright eyes, we will not let you die alone


One thought on “Still Bright Eyes

  1. Vanessa, as I read this beautiful tribute to one of your patients, I read it with tear-filled eyes…remembering the bright hazel eyes of my Nana. I am touched!


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