of colon cancer, I called him into my garage
from his daily walk past our house.
“Come see our new baby!”
He edged in shyly because everyone
on our street had seen him drunk,
swerving on his bicycle because he got his
fourth DUI and could not drive anymore.
One afternoon he crashed his bike on the corner
next to the azalea bush and just basked
there for hours. The police were called.
He would get sober,
bring smoked gouda and salmon to our door,
give me advice on how to recover
my dead lawn. Rake out the loam,
pull out the layers of diseased flesh,
reseed in April after the risk of frost
and the promise of rain. Then weeks later
he would ramble over and his liquid mouth
would chew some words like “fuck it,
she’s pissed I’m drinking again.”
But today he floated slowly to the window
where my boy whimpered in the car seat
and let loose an “Awww, congratulations!
I’ll bring you some sockeye I’m about
to smoke.” His skin white like the light
was already spilling out of his body,
his motions cartoonish like a ghost
pretending to walk.
The ambulance and the police
whirled red and blue two days later.
I don’t judge him for his drinking,
or if that caused his intestines
to grow layers of loam over the
sorry and sorry and sorry.
—Posted by the poet to his Facebook page on 12 March 2020, and appears here
with his permission
helps our veterans heal, as an RN. In previous lives he taught high school and practiced acupuncture. He has recent writing in Cultural Weekly, KYSO Flash, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Slippery Elm, and Swimming with Elephants, among others. His first collection, The only thing that makes sense is to grow, was published by Moon Tide Press in December 2019.