I just called / pieces of a man

I just called

To say


To check

On you.

It has been a year

Since he died.

You are not in.

It is Peter’s confident voice

I hear

On the answerphone.

‘Pete and Jo aren’t in, please leave a message.’

Pete’s voice so strong,

The bounce,



Still audible

Across time.

I am sorry he’s gone.

This is based upon my recent experiences phoning a patient’s wife.

I had met the patient a few days earlier.

He is a shell.

In a care home. He is not able to engage in conversation.

A few broken sentences,

Not fixed in place or time

Are all that he can say.

I try to connect,


Not even eye-contact is feasible;

Most patients responding to my smile,

For this man

Its magic was absent.

And the voice

On the phone,

Not ‘Pete’


Just as confident

As full of life and humour and energy

Was still present,

A ghost

A shadow

Of the man.

The snippets,

Voice recordings

And audio,

Even writings

Are elements of our immortality

That will last beyond our decline.

Published by rodkersh1948

Trying to understand the world, one emotion at a time.

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