Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Living Will

This poem was first written as part of a  story and has been published in its present form by Mark Ulyseas of Live Encounters Magazine at Live Encounters Poetry Feast December 2016.


A Living Will


After I’m gone, say

the God I barely recognised

was indivisible.

Just One.


After I’ve gone, don’t

recite Kaddish. The

dying is for me.

Not Him.


Make the funeral short.

Let my body burn.

Should these requests be

judged thoughtless, most

perverse, let it be known

that I deserve no prayers,

praise, lies or crocodile tears.


What I did was wrong.

You’ll know this -

after I’ve gone.


Buy less milk and butter.

Turn the heating low.

Feed the cat. Cut

the kids’ hair monthly,

check their homework’s done.

Remind them they are Jewish -

after I’m gone.


When you make

Jack’s barmitzvah,

do invite my mum.

It’ll be good for

her to see him

wear Dad’s prayer shawl.


After I’m gone, carry

on as normal. Have

Janie round for tea.

I find your loving


Let’s not pretend.

It’s clear. She’s

a better mother

than I’d ever be.


After I’m gone,

pin a notice on our door.

“This woman,”

it should read,

“seemed honourable,

kind, fair; steadfast,

generous, taught her

children well.


“But as the final drips

of life seeped from her,

measured by the agonised

ticking of the clock, the

truth poured out.


“In a dream she

killed her father,

made mad her daughter,

then watched agape

as oblivion snatched

her, too.”


© Natalie Wood (19 October 2016)



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