The Healer

Face weathered and lined she watches
As the hours pass she watches
Seemingly unmoving she watches
As long as required she watches

The child in the corner tosses
Turns and moans and writhes
Sweat-soaked in an old blanket
Still the old lady watches

Gasping the child awakens
Staring frightened eyes dart around
A scream chokes off as she finds
The dear old lady who watches

“Hush dear,” breathes the crone
She tips an elixir down her throat
Gratefully she sinks back into sleep
Knowing the old lady watches

Morning comes, the child is barely moving
Breath only a flutter of her chest
Passing villagers look upon her in concern
But the lady only watches

“She’s beyond help,” they chorus as one
“You’re killing her,” they accuse
She knows they are wrong yet all she does
Is shake her head as she watches

Another night comes the child is weaker
She must break the fever now or succumb
Still her constant attendant
Sits in her corner and watches

It is time, the child moans
Awaking again from her frightful sleep
The old lady is there, comforting, soothing
As full of anticipation she watches

“Fight it,” she whispers, holding her head
“Fight it,” she demands not letting go
Delirious and weak the child tries to fight
But the old lady holds her still and watches

“Breathe with me,” she calls to her
“Breathe with me and let it go
Your time is not yet, you know that well”
Then full of hope she watches

The child breathes, a shuddering sound
Gasping air into her starved lungs
“Deeper,” the old lady implores her patient
And then impotently she watches

Slowly the breaths increase in depth
Gradually the frequency increases too
The old lady continues to hold the child
And as she holds her she watches

Blanched skin acquires a pinkish tinge
Dull eyes begin to light again
With increasing confidence the breaths come now
With joy the old lady watches

Morning comes the child sleeps peacefully
All trace of the malady gone
“A miracle,” chorus the villagers
And the old lady smiles, as she watches


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