The Consultant (Revelation, first draft)
First, the over-quiet room where we sat together
Waiting, quiet as all the others – waiting
Until she left me for the first time…
Then I was called
As he spoke the shock hit, solid as a punch;
Left me breathless, faint, unmanned;
So obviously lost that chair and water came
And briefly the patient was I – not her.
Then my mind began to grasp the truth it had shunned;
Clarity returned with the grave timbre of his voice –
Inflected to ask: How could I not have seen or guessed
The destiny she had known so long.
How did she stand the months in which the pain was hers alone?
After all those many years, my failure to feel –
My hiding from the very possibility of that horror –
Still strikes: so hard as that first blow.
We became blind to other futures
We were one union of body, heart and soul
I lived within her and she within me: one mind, one thought,
But I did not comprehend her need, nor she mine
and I live on knowing the chasm of that failure