A hollow chest once vigorous and tight,
now rises slowly contemplating
the next breath.
My father lies unable to get up,
or eat, or move his legs,
a beautiful shell stripped of everything
but the basic choice to love the
desolation that is left.
I converse with him,
my feet on the floor, legs ready to
run for help or cover.
I stay, mesmerized and curious,
a man in and out of
a space much larger than his useless
legs can take him. Is it a journey, Dad,
just as they say? And by your breath, you are telling
me you are leaving? But where will
I go when torment comes and the ground
shifts beneath me and the only solace
I know is the flesh of the man
who trusted life enough to risk
bringing me here.
Have I taken hold of life with
enough resolution to walk from your room and say
my own risks are enough? My own mistakes
can stand inside this air we share together?
When you stop and I continue,
we will drop our dueling swords, our eagerness
to pace the other. The cavity inside you
grows empty, my attempts to
send you the smallest drop,
a reminder of fullness, do not belong now.
We breath together, an hour or more.
My conversation has fallen away.
I feel the warmth of your face,
the last time, as it turns out. The act of courage
for the night, my measured steps
making distance I cannot replace.
On the death of my father August 4, 2014