You look at your bewildered face in the mirror, knowing
or, maybe not knowing
you are powerless to decide the day, to
find your keys and lock the door behind you
to drive to the store for a quart of milk
I took your keys away, remember?
angry and confused you said, "damn it
so you're one of them now too, huh?"
You shook your cane at the doctor, though
I don't blame you; he talked of
your condition as if you weren't in the room, as if
old men everywhere weren't already shelved with
their curling blank pages, yellowed
and much too brittle to touch
But we exist outside the circle of drooling incognizant men
Dad, don't we?
You empty your closet,
piling all your clothes and shoes on the living room floor
and with a grandiose gesture and eyes peeled skyward
you announce in your best voice "I am coming home."
You would have thought it funny how
my little boy, he tried to die once
He lay down on the sofa and shut his eyes
every twitch and flinch controlled
stiff as he could make it, but
his sweet breath kept rising and falling and rising
Mom, I can't do it
I can't be dead he said
The way you looked at me at the lake
when I was ten, hair in a long braid down my back
following a trail through gold colored beach grass, heads
tipped back and laughing, watching
the seamless flow of clouds
my hand so small in yours
Where will I be?
Where will you be
after your body turns cold
slack-jawed, tangled in the bluebird sheets I
gave you last Christmas, dentures
in a cup by the bed, your tattered green robe dangling
on a hook behind the bathroom door
Exactly what is the next grand becoming
shuffling across our blood-fired paths?