Jan Pankow attendeerde me op dit gedicht. Herkenbaar, confronterend, troostend en na iedere lezing mooier, zoals een gedicht betaamt.

Ever since my surgery.
When the surgeon walked into my room,
with that serious, practiced, face of death.
The way the words, ‘Indolent’ and ‘fatal’
hung there in the air like day old balloons.
The way a lover looks when they tell you
they’re leaving on the next train.
All and all, though. It’s like I’m
the big prize winner at the county fair..
Because you should never give a poet
ammunition like that.
I’ll be impossible to live with. Just you wait.
The way ‘death bed’ and ‘final wishes’
already rolls off my tongue like
cherry filled bon-bons in a box of chocolates.
Even “Fatal” alone, makes me tingle.
And “indolent” kind of gets me high.
For it’s slowness, for the mystery of the march.
Across the mountains one last time,
and down to the river where the oarsman sleeps.
Even the promise of drugs would be enough.
Because I’m the big prize winner now.
That light and airy way they try and look so positive.
Insisting I carry, ‘hope’ in my back pocket.
To pull out like a talisman or a head shop crystal.
But I have caskets full of memories now,
that I’ll beat you over the head with.
And every breath smells like maple syrup
on a Christmas morning long ago.
All the kids gathered around the kitchen table.
And every kiss is a cool mossy monument.
Even the Willow tree in the front yard,
the one I planted to close to the house,
is swaying in the wind and singing dirges now.
Winters coming. Oh, yes it is.
It’s a good thing to be this damn lucky.
To have this chance to stop and breath at last.
Or at least that’s what the church bells
down the street, keep saying.
And the blue sky is bluer than I’ve ever seen.
I’ll be impossible to live with. You just wait and see.
Billy Lee
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