Grand Mal by Phil McNulty


What made me wake that night?
Was it your movement?
 The thrashing of your limbs?
Or your wild, throttled, gurgling, scream?
I grabbed at the light cord and illuminated….a horror!
Your face a mask of dislocation. Eyes rolling, neck distended.
An inhuman, guttural, moaning from between bared teeth. I  gaped
At your physically contorted body-  rigidly arched, with fists clenched and beating, striving to explode
Such unbearable pain.
The voices of madness whining from frothed lips in tumours grasp
As the throes of stroke or haemorrhage battered you.
And then you died. Eyes glazed. A final exhalation.
Silence, silence. With you dead and me, not breathing.
 A silence broken from by the bedside……‘What's wrong with mum?’
Silence, silence. With you dead and me, not breathing.
A silence broken from where you lay….. by the lowest sigh.
And then, my frenzy .
A desperate, stumbling, fumbling, dialling incoherence
And then that firm voice.
‘Is she breathing? Turn her on her side. They’re on the way.’
You would not wake and time no longer moved.
But they were in the room, our untidy room.
The green suited medics by the bed.
Calm and in charge.
You moaned and roused, in wild-eyed confusion, at the uniform strangeness.
Later, when they took you away, delirious,
You smiled and waved, regally, as we stood by,
Pathetic and drained, but laughing, with damp eyes.


0 #1 Anne Poitrineau 2021-03-12 19:39
Poignant, as it should be. Just like we all discovered Covid step by step, as it revealed its range and pain, so we discover the story in the poem. Thank you.