A poem for my father

Holy discomfort this week looks like letting go.

My father is ill. His pneumonia is not responding to antibiotics, and he is refusing to eat.

My brothers and I gathered around his hospital bed. The nurse poked at him to wake him up and yelled into his ear, “Your children are here. ”

He roused and looked around. “The three of them,” he said.

“Yes,” the nurse responded. “Your three children are here to see you.”

He repeated, “The three of them, here,” as if trying to hold on to the thought. Then, “That’s good. I am pleased.”

His eyelids gradually closed, and he withdrew into himself, as we stood by watching for signs of the man we knew and loved.

I came back to our Airbnb and wrote this poem. As Emily Dickinson wrote, “It’s all I have to bring today….”

A poem for my father

His right clavicle presses up through the skin
which drapes over it like a heavy curtain
I pull back the curtains in my rented room
flimsy, thin
not like the curtain of his flesh
And they open onto asphalt and aluminum siding
not onto a mystery
the Mystery of Life and Being
and finally Death

Mom passed in such a way as to leave only a ripple
That was her way
Dad’s going is quieter than I would have imagined
The word that comes to mind is majestic
Like an ocean liner
or the great whales
the bull buffalo standing alone and far off
in a sea of golden grass

I love you Dad
And Love never dies
After the heart stops there is still a hum, almost inaudible
Perhaps the sound Elijah heard outside his cave
(He had to come to end of his strength, the end of his life
to hear it)

And now I see Mom young and beautiful
dressed in yellow (your favorite, only color—
colorblind to all else)
coming toward you with a smile
her lips unveiling a mystery
welcoming you home

Published by kbryantshipp

Preacher woman, musician, lover of justice

3 thoughts on “A poem for my father

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