Mother’s Day, 1993

by Todd H. C. Fischer

A knock at the door
and I’m pulled from bed,
my brother calmly saying,
“You better come upstairs.”
Voices are raised in the bedroom;
mom is pulling on a shirt,
“Talk to him!” she yells.
On the bed lies my father,
covers rumpled,
a wet spot on the front of his underwear.
I don’t think his chest is moving.
And I talk
but I know it’s too late already
and I’m talking to a corpse.
Men burst in and usher us out.
My mom’s best friend pulls us into a car
and we follow the roaring ambulance
to the squat white hospital
roosting on the lakeshore.
A green nurse takes us into a room
and we wait.

Finally, a doctor enters.
“Nothing we could do,”
he walks out.
My mother cries,
my brother stares at the wall,
and I throw a chair across the room.
Later, I wander the grounds,
followed by a cousin set to watch me.
I recognize my mother’s sister’s van
and she runs through the geese,
grasps my arms.
“How is he?”

In a small room
we viewed the body,
covered by a white shroud.
Only his arm protruding
and its this grey thing
seeming too frail to be the arm
that itched to throw me a baseball,
that shook me when I hurt my mother.
Shrunken, with yellow nails—
this is not him.
And I leave

Now, his picture hangs on the wall,
put there by my wife,
a woman he never met.
I need that picture because
I’m losing him again.

Copyright ©:  1998


The End

And that’s the End of the Poem

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