Unable to stand the year
he was nine, stiff legs bent
and hollow, my father had nothing
to do but watch wisteria grow.
Tendrils inched through cracks
in a bedroom pane. Brass wheels
slipping on a knotty floor. Beside
the alarm – his aspirin therapy
swallowed. At ninety-two he’s gray
plaster. Turned to side, he raises a hand
and presses the paint above
a childhood cot. Above, celadon
lead-paint blisters and breaks.
Green chips fall on a tangled sheet
of lavender light. He holds up
the house. He pushes toward blue,
insists the door, hinged, beveled,
remain open like the spines
of his books. He returns to muscled
pages, his thick-thighed never.
I creep toward the room (avoid
moaning boards so not to disrupt
the illusion of his sleep).
The doorway open.
Without a creak, I hold
a chamber of gel to his lips.
Morphine eases his well-oiled
departure. The down duvet – so soft.
Unmade in his mother’s attic,
beneath her angled eaves, a rolling
bed is tucked against a window.