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
on a hook behind the bathroom door.
Exactly what is the next grand becoming, shuffling across our blood-fired paths?