Age Takes a Socialist

 

By Roland Leach

 

I thought every family had one, but kids at school never mentioned a socialist aunt and uncle. Ours drove a Holden FJ, the people’s car, went to city meetings and gave out yellowing pamphlets. When they grew older they went through a phase where they talked constantly of their preferred deaths.

They refused to reach seventy, wanted a quiet bed-death, though they had never been quiet all their lives, an aneurysm or heart attack might do, but there would be no nursing home, never that dilution. Their lives had been a fight against institutions. Euthanasia became an obsession.

They spoke of Death as a greedy capitalist with a monopoly in the futures market, and they were at the battlements again, proclaiming their rights, their ownership of death.

Then it passed, some small shift in the brain, and getting up and having a cup of tea was enough, it was one-thing-at-a-time; the revolution subsided.

My uncle would have shouted and raved at this diminished self, this broken man who was not him, had he a mind to think it through. His death by dementia orchestrated by secret cabals. Aunt lived on for years in a nursing home, watching TV game shows with a boyfriend.

 

Roland Leach has three collections of poetry, the latest, My Father’s Pigs, published by Picaro Press. He is the proprietor of Sunline Press, which has published eighteen collections of poetry by Australian poets. His latest venture is Cuttlefish, a new magazine that includes art, poetry, flash fiction and short fiction.

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