The visitor at the door

FEATURE

May 30, 2017

My drowning pool is but the size of a grave,

Its waters engulf me, the killing tides cascade,

As I struggle against death, I wonder if I’m worthy to save,

But beyond the pool, as if on a distant shore,

I see the visitor at the door.

 

Beyond the drowning pool, there is a beckoning light,

My reach is gone, my arms paralyzed, adding to my fright,

I sink deeper into the dark unknown, permanent night,

But he remains with me, this man I cannot ignore,

He gives me strength, the visitor at the door.

 

My descent into the drowning pool slows,

My determination and will to survive grow,

There is no longer doubt of what we both know,

He reminds me without using words, I could not love him more,

I see only his silhouette, but I know the visitor at the door.

 

There have been many visits, but this is the first in years,

At the beginning, he came to me often, to ease my fears,

An invisible presence, not easily dismissed through my tears,

Now, he is here, I can now see the face of my savior,

My guardian angel, the visitor at the door.

 

Long ago, the visitor made the journey to another door,

Beyond it, a different beckoning light, also hard to ignore,

A voice invited him to enter if he wanted to know more,

“Go in, if you want to,” the voice said,

As a mortal, in a far-off world, the visitor was dead,

As a husband and father, was he finished? Was he done?

Were they ready to lose him? His wife and son?

The choice was still his, and he knew it in his core,

The visitor was not ready to go through that door.

 

The visitor returned to his life, still his to claim,

Back to the wife and young son who proudly carried his name,

For many (but too few) years, what was good remained the same,

The son grew to manhood, the wife’s love for her husband grew,

What was time-honored between them became as new,

From Robert Browning, “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be,”

The promise of a lifetime together the couple would not see,

The visitor was taken from us, where he wasn’t before,

But he has never been far from us, the visitor at the door.

 

Now, the drowning pool has transformed, it has changed,

It is not a grave, but only a hospital bed, not at all strange,

The water engulfing me is only sweat, I am cold and in pain,

The strength he gives me returns the use of my body once more,

He has returned me to the world, the visitor at the door.

 

Others are in the room now, in response to the emergency light,

They’ve treated me for high blood sugar this night,

The measures taken were too extreme, and a threat to my life,

Moments from diabetic coma, I awoke to terror as never before,

The doctor and nurse rush in, past the visitor at the door.

 

I am injected with Glucagon, and the chills turn to heat,

Those helping me need to change my drenched sheets,

How can they move this big man, who is still too weak?

Am I still paralyzed? For myself, am I able to do more?

In response to my doubts, he spoke. The visitor at the door.

 

Throughout my adulthood, the visitor helped me become strong,

No words were spoken, none were needed to secure our bond,

His past visits became more fleeting, and were never long,

But this night, for this, he knows I need to hear more,

The words I need are spoken by the visitor at the door.

 

“I’m proud of you, son.”

 

I raise my arms, to the surprise of the doctor and nurse,

My arms feel as if on fire, but I’ve endured pain much worse,

I grab the headboard to pull my body up, a first,

Someone so close to coma has not recovered so quickly before,

Once more, I turn my head towards the visitor at the door.

 

No longer hidden in shadow, I see his wonderful smile,

That heart-warming grin, not seen in too long a while,

Not only does he inspire me, I know I inspire him as well,

My smile is weak, but my returning strength helps make it more,

And, with a wink, he is gone, the visitor at the door.

 

Will I see the visitor again soon? Who can tell?

I hope he will come to me when he needs me as well,

We’ll be together when I make my own journey, if not before,

After a long, happy life, I know I will see him once more,

I will be reunited with the visitor at the door.

© 2020 by Joe Townsel. All Rights Reserved.

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