Before the end came

Death is so intimate –
more intimate than first love.

I could hold his hand, 

gaze into his eyes, 



at his tender face, 


his frosty hair.

He was very thin,
skin the colour 

of a dried corn husk. 

His mouth 

a dark tunnel. 

The jagged mountain ranges 

of his ruined teeth.

The petrified forests
of his hair.

The failing locomotive of his breath.
The sadness of the black bobbled socks on his calves.

Yet he was
who he had always been. 

Taken from Tim Lott’s Guardian article, My father’s final moments, 23 February 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.