wears his slippers
to my brother's house
for Sunday brunch.

His old, gray mukluks
pace the yard
and clutch at twigs
and leaves and bugs.
I watch his feet.

And then I watch
the bright wool
of his heavy sweater
across the grass
again and back,
in the hot May sun.

Close-up is always hardest.

His eyes,
behind smudged glasses,
seem now smudged themselves
and far away.
I want to clead them off
so he can
really look at me

I wipe his chin,
make it a joke
to save him from disgrace.
Perhaps he is beyond
I hope so
but then right away
I hope not

Every bit hurts to go.

I sink,
thinking my own daughters
will die
if this happens to me.
They have no tolerance
for suffering.

We drive home in the dark
in the thick, sad silence
that always comes after.

I imagine my real father
in his wing tips,
perfect shirt and tie,
for the rest of him
to come.

From the back seat
my son's hand,
finds my shoulder,

and I remember telling him
once, years ago,
that there is no such thing
as purgatory.

-- Deb Cooper

Send Comments to Greg Gordon MD, CFI, cydoc@earthlink.net
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