Thursday, October 12, 2017


Dan Cox, "Hospital bed," 2008

You were thin as any aged animal, by then; the
fizz of tiny clots bubbling off from some occult
source had finally stolen the appetite you’d had
for living. We didn’t know what was wrong, we
couldn’t find it or fix it, and you wept to see us
weeping. Enter a doctor, you’d put on a bright
tough smile: “Yes, I want to go to rehab, I beat
this the last time, I want to get out of here, to
go home.” Exit, and you’d turn to us, confused,
grimacing—“Enough.” (We didn’t know we were
watching you die, the losses piling up hid it from
view.) So I’d sit on the edge of your bed, sit you
up, coax you to eat a grape, just one grape, my
arm bracing you, the bones in your spine so close
to the surface I could count their facets against
my skin. How broken we were. You opened your
mouth, let me place a grape on your tongue. Oh,
it was not enough (your scapulae like bird’s wings)
yet it was still too much, a child feeding her father.

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