WITH MY FATHER IN THE HOSPITAL
I am sitting with my old father as he sleeps.
He's in a coma and won't wake up but still, he breathes,
slow shallow breaths hardly traceable.
Today he is innocent, childlike, young again.
At first, while I sit with him, I doze off, wake, stare out the window
at the busy parking lot.
Cars are parked and people are walking and the wind's blowing
strong, pushing trees to the right.
And I am thinking about the history of the world.
Nothing specific but the whole big deal of it, this history,
like the history of a family or a relationship, full of details,
but also heavy, the bulk of it, the time, it has weight.
I think my father is too light for this now. I try to be as light as that too
and sit in the chair, buoyantly, light and blue as the sky out the window is.
I think about how he taught me to throw a baseball, grabbed
the stitches with his thick knuckles, perfectly as
any of us would hold an egg between two fingers.
And I remember the look on his face when he told me the first thing
I knew to be untrue. His blue eyes twinkled a little, and the salesman in him
caused him to pinch the edge of his hat as he smiled.
This is how later I knew when he had a good hand at cards,
why I always wanted to be his partner because I knew
if he was bluffing and when he was true as he could be.
I could see in his eyes what was up. The shine. The glint.
An ancient man now with an old round head. He's true blue.
I've spent so much time trying to save him
and now I let go, lighter than I imagined I could
all the heaviness of the past floating away on its own.
I lean over, touch his hand. I'm glad to say good-bye on such a good day as this.