In a quiet, white room
a man is lying in his bed.
I enter slowly
trying to take it all in.
Grappling with the news.
The being here.
The not being there when.

I bring up a chair.
Trying not to scrape the floor.
Trying not to disturb the quiet.
I sit right up close.
Close to the pillow.
Close to his face.

This is the last time
we’ll be together in the same room.
This is the in-between time
between the ending
and the arrangements.
It feels important
to be here now
to be alone but together.
To remember and to mark.

Quietly, I pick up my book
of plain white cartridge
and from my bag
a small stubby pencil.

It’s all I can find.
I perch with paper on my lap
and start to draw.

At first the marks
are faint, tentative
but gradually I become
less self conscious
more focused and absorbed
The silence in the room
is broken only by
scribbles & scratches from my pencil.
The lines are more fluid
and this simple task
feels right.

The soft pencil traverses the page
outlining the contours of his face:
the sharp nose
hollow cheeks
translucent, fragile skin
thin as paper.

His mouth slack
as if in resignation
and from the exhaustion of it all.
The toll and struggle
of the last five years.

Nothing here to recognise
of the smiling, animated man
with glass and fag in hand.

Except the eyes:
still wide open, still intense.
Liquid blue in this soft light.
I’m almost taken aback
by their very blueness.
They seem to gaze into me.

His last moments
frozen, Dad.

Title: Drawing a Memory
Materials: White cartridge paper, the end of a pencil
Sally Booth is a visual artist