The Night Joe Left

October 2, 2008

Joe asks me
to stay,
to keep
the earthly vigil
into this night.

He speaks no words;
nor do his eyes
look upon me.
No one knows
except he
and I.

This father cannot
take leave of his family
while lying helpless –
unable to whisper
“don’t worry”
unable to say
goodbye.

exhausted,
the others begin
to go home.

It will be better
this way.
I the sentry
who falls asleep,
he the spirit who sheds
this breaking body.
this sweet life…

Joe continues to stare
at a ceiling he does not see
while his inner core
prepares for
departure.

Across the hall
irritated alarms split
the midnight silence
as some poor soul
gets up to
wander.

tell him
he can go – it is okay
to go.

Sitting in the visitor’s chair
at three
a.m.
I fall
victim
to
the
mathematical
drone
of
the
oxygen
machine…

Soon
after,
he presses my shoulder.

I awaken.

He is gone.

8 Responses to “The Night Joe Left”

  1. qazse Says:

    This is a repost from October 2007 in honor of my father in law.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Beautiful. It brought forth a storm of emotions to me. Thank you for sharing the experience.

  3. fencer Says:

    Hi qazse,

    I hope I said something fine back in 2007, because I think this is one of your best poems.

    Regards

  4. qazse Says:

    Lisa, thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate the feedback. I hope it helped in some tiny way.

    Fencer, you said something fine in 2007 and 2006. Thank you. I too agree this is one of my most satisfying. It comes from life, not didactics.

  5. twitches Says:

    Hm. Those shorter lines are interesting, mimicking a falling motion.

    Also, love the photo.

  6. qazse Says:

    twitch! I was going to go with:

    tell him
    he can go – it is okay
    to go.

    Sitting in the visitor’s chair at three a.m. I fall victim to the mathematical drone of the oxygen machine…

    Soon
    after,
    he touches me.

    but the falling words seemed to fit the notion of droning to sleeping better. ?

  7. clancyjane Says:

    this is
    perfect.

    and sweet.

    and so sad and significant.

    i really love it, you, joe.

  8. qazse Says:

    clancyjane, thank you. It means a lot coming from you especially.


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