Fathers Dying

I. Fathers dying of stroke heart attack cancer cirrhosis of the liver Hodgkin’s Alzheimer’s paralysis tumor blood clot surrounded by brown hills patched with sloping live oak an old Victorian in a prune orchard blackbirds chat morning glories reach over hot hard dry clods of earth lungs fill with fluids seizure circuit in the brain dissolving and accumulating tissues garbage dry rot termites broken windows water damage vandals overhead in photographic negative fast-motion clouds in the wind II. Pacing the linoleum urgently waiting for the doctor in dual biological suspense like two medieval water clocks out of synch tumblers sliding grinding their separate hours Maybe he’ll pull out of it Consider what he has to live for In a sense he’s already decided but won’t in his coma tell III. Tired and sick of this pretending feeling what I’m told to feel It’ll be alright don’t worry it’ll be alright blowing up a red balloon No one can blame me I love him and don’t want him to die I don’t know what have I killed him

15 May 1985