Fog lights on for the drive home
from the hospital this winter's eve.

Spooky night -- temp is four degrees.
He might have been a pilot for how he sees.

Instead, he veers around
all eerie things arising 

from the murk. Sentinel son,
he's come from seeing

his mother, who's working hard
and harder at her job

of staying alive for one
more night. She's a Nana

two times over now, two more boys,
young enough not to know

yet the scent of death, its pall.
On they drive, the man and death.

His sister met him in the hall; 
she going in, he going out,

revolving loves to help sustain
the one who gave them life. 

He asked his younger sib,
"Double double for your trouble?"

A joke as old as they, a family line
passed down from Dad, no longer

here, but here, amid
the bustle and despair.

"Same as Mom," she said, and sighed,
then nearly laughed, and then she cried

a rapid tear, just one, before she
hiked her shoulders up and told him 

No ... I just want Mom to live.
He couldn't speak to that. No menu

for that fist within their guts
that every child will crave

when pinned beneath the antiseptic
light of dour relief by drugs

that quell the chains of pain.
No menu nor a drug

to set a plug into that drain.
He let his sister go.

She didn't see his eyes
skitter for a chair as soon

as she had gone around a bend.
His knees went soft. He couldn't

leave. He couldn't drive.
He wanted them to live:

Sister, mother, wife at home,
both his kids, and he himself

who backed into the wall,
sluggish with the grief

of thinking How, and When.
No coffee to appease

his need to be a god, to save
the lives he couldn't save.

He could only cup his palms
around the bones that shook

his legs to gel, to murmur Thank you,
thank you ... for in this moment, all is well. 

Photo credit: Jack Move Magazine