A silent death

a poem by Jan Oskar Hansen

When mother took her afternoon nap,
on the sofa in the living room,
she slept with her eyes half open
and breathed so lightly
that I couldn’t see it in the drawn curtain’s glooming.
Sometimes it disturbed me so much
that I coughed to wake her up
and when she did,
got very cross with me.
That’s why I was reading the papers when she died,
made her a coffee at four o’clock
and coughed a long time
before I understood that this time
she wasn’t sleeping.