New York: St. Vincent's Hospital
By E. Ethelbert Miller
At the foot of the bed
I watch Marie and Enid hold your
touching you for the last time.
You are the first person I will
see die in a hospital.
Your body warm, your skin smooth
You were always concerned about
how you looked,
especially your face. Even now you
How funny to see you at peace. You
were always in bed
sleeping or watching television.
Whenever I came to visit
you were in the bedroom listening
to your own heart beat.
Occasionally you would rise and
talk with a visitor, but
this was only occasionally. My
memories of you are like
tonight. The quietness of death is
a predictable conversation.
I can't believe you are my father,
that the tubes removed
from your arms were as life giving
as your blood. I feel like
a stranger before you. A man left
with two women, a
mother and sister. I cannot
comfort them. What could one
say that would caress? What words
could open your eyes?